This post was sponsored by NOW Foods as part of an Influencer Activation with Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
October has been an exciting month for me! I went on a two day Influencer trip to Chicago and visited the headquarters of NOW Foods to celebrate their 50th anniversary and learn more about the company and their products . NOW is one of the largest independent manufacturers of natural products in the U.S. health food store channel. As a result of my experience with them, I’m passionate about sharing what I learned about this company with you. I’ve been filling my cupboards with NOW products since I got home!
I’ll summarize the trip and planned events (which were really cool) but before we talk about the trip, I have some amazing contests to tell you about!
First, you can enter to win over $500 worth of NOW’s products and swag! Everything you see in my goodie bags is included in the giveaway! NOW is a very generous company and they are offering all the products to one of my lucky readers! You can enter to win via the Rafflecopter form below. You will receive a beautiful diffuser, essential oils, natural foods, sports nutrition products, beauty products, supplements, and more! This is an incredible giveaway!!! Of course, I included lots of options to increase your chances to win!
Giveaway is open to US entrants only. NOW Foods will ship directly to the winner. Deadline to enter is 10/29/18. Good luck!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Also, to celebrate their 50th Anniversary, NOW is saying “thank you” to everyone who has made them a trusted partner in their wellness journey. The “Celebrate NOW” Instant-Win Game gives you a chance to win (50) – $10,000 instant prizes. NOW is producing one million supplement bottles across 50 SKUs with special gold caps. If you find a golden ticket inside one of these gold-cap bottles, you instantly win $10,000 (upon meeting eligibility requirements and prize verification). Check here for more details about the game!
I know you are already excited, right? Well, keep reading! You will be even more excited when you learn more about this company and peek behind the scenes! Struggling with product selection when it comes to supplements, natural foods, and nutrition is a serious challenge. I’m about to help you overcome that!
NOW Foods Influencer Immersion 2018 – Event Recap & What I Learned
Day 1 – Introductions & Dinner Event
I arrived in Chicago and NOW Foods had a car waiting for me that took me to the Englewood Resort and Spa which is northwest of the city. Friendly faces greeted me and got me all set up for my stay.
When I entered in my room, I found huge goodie bags! The amazing team at NOW Foods packed goodie bags for us with over $500 of incredible products. What an incredibly generous gift! And these are all the goodies you can win in my giveaway.
There was so much waiting for me that I couldn’t get it all in one photo. NOW Foods has numerous product lines: Sports Nutrition, Supplements, Natural Beauty Products, Natural Foods, and Essential Oils. They also have some pet health products (thinking of Gigi here!). With over 1400 natural products on the market, there is something for everyone.
This trip was especially exciting for me because I suffer from adult on-set food allergies. Last year, doctors diagnosed me with a moderate to severe milk and sesame allergy. Depression set in for nearly six months while I thought I’d never eat what I wanted to again. NOW Foods inspires me and reminds me, I don’t have to give up foods I love. With their products, I am learning new ways to make all the foods I love. Since connecting with this company, I am discovering many new things that are healthier for me!
Everyone met in the lobby at 5PM to attend the dinner event. This was my first opportunity to meet the entire influencer team. There were approximately 20 influencers from all over the country. It was an honor to be a part of this group! Everyone brought something different to the table and the diversity amongst this group was phenomenal.
Our evening began at NOW’s Cooking Skills Academy. I was really looking for to this because I love to cook. There was an Iron Chef competition and a wonderful dinner. Jim Emme, NOW Foods CEO and Dan Richard, VP of NHG Global Sales and Marketing greeted us and spoke to the group. Dave Rosenberg, Foods Category Manager, gave us an overview of their extensive natural food products. I was really excited about the offerings they have. NOW believes GMOs are unnatural, and has a strict Non-GMO Assurance Process. Every NOW product is created using non-GMO, non-irradiated ingredients and organic ingredients whenever possible. Pretty amazing, right?
Chef Suzy Singh got the activities underway. Today she is a passionate membership of the NOW Foods team but before that, she was a finalist on Masterchef Season 2. Suzy showed us how to make sugarless blueberry jam using NOW Foods Sugarless Sugar™. Their sugar substitute is to die for! It’s all natural, has 1/3 the calories of sugar, bakes like sugar, and of course, is non-GMO! It’s a one for one sugar substitute that will blow your mind. The blueberry jam was so easy and I thought of so many things to make at home with the Sugarless Sugar™!
After the cooking demonstration, we split up into teams and our challenge was to create an original mocktail and an appetizer. We had so much fun and my team came in third place. After the Iron Chef competition, we all sat down for dinner.
I had an opportunity to try some incredible foods using NOW product. There was a vegan macaroni and cheese made with NOW Foods Quinoa Macaroni. It’s the only vegan pasta, I’ve ever liked! Everything was wonderful! We went back to the resort after dinner and everyone settled in for the night and was excited for Day 2!
Day 2 – Workout, Smoothie Bar, Manufacturing Plant Tour, DIY Natural Health & Beauty, & Training Secrets
A ton of activities were planned for Day 2. It started with a kick-boxing work out. I decided to pass on the workout because I didn’t sleep well. I met up with the group just after the workout for an overview of the NOW® Sports Nutrition line with Bryan Morin, Sports Brand Manager.
The Sports Nutrition line is extensive (900+ nutritional supplements). Backed by world-class research and development standards, NOW products support athletes of all levels. NOW® Sports is one of the few brands of natural sports products that does not use any artificial ingredients, including artificial sweeteners, colors, or flavors. In addition, they recently announced their products are certified through Informed-Sport for detection of banned substances.
At the DIY smoothie bar, I whipped up a smoothie with frozen strawberries, organic beet root powder (just released by NOW and amazing), cashew milk, raw cacao nibs, and NOW Foods Dark Chocolate Better Stevia Liquid Sweetener.
Their Better Stevia Liquid Sweeteners? OMG! Seriously? I want every single one in my house. I’ve already purchased more since I got home! My smoothie was awesome and I’ve been experimenting making different smoothies everyday using NOW’s protein powders.
Not only does NOW Foods have innovative formulations and something for everyone, they work hard to deliver a great value to customers. Despite their impressive growth, at the heart of NOW Foods is a humble team of professional that continue to run the company as a family-owned business. I have no doubt each and every employee would feel good about using the products and giving the products to their friends and family.
After the morning smoothie bar, we headed over to the manufacturing plant in Bloomington, Illinois for a private tour. Before entering the plant, we put on special gear and Jessica, their QA Manager took us through the facility.
The plant was spotless. People were intently working on very organized production lines. There are eight vitamin lines and it was interesting to see how a product starts on the line and the journey it travels until it is ultimately boxed and prepared for shipping. We had an opportunity to see the essential oil lines, where raw materials are stored, how products are mixed and blended… and so much more.
What impressed me most was their quality process and sophisticated laboratories. The in-house and third party testing done on NOW products is substantial. The quality control and quality assurance programs set this company apart from the others. NOW was one of the first companies to be certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) for its dietary supplement manufacturing process.
While the supplements industry is regulated, the media continues to casts a dark shadow. NOW has invested in the most elite equipment and they take every step possible to ensure what you get is exactly what’s on their labels. More than 16,000 tests on raw materials and finished products are performed MONTHLY in NOWs labs to ensure products are safe from adulteration, contamination, and ingredient substitution. They are GMP certified and have received an A rating every year since they initially applied in 2000.
If you aren’t sure who is going above and beyond to deliver the best possible products, I’m telling you NOW Foods is a company you can trust. If you see their label, that’s the product to grab on the shelf. I just simplified your life (you’re welcome).
After the tour, we had an amazing catered lunch and of course, I fell in love with something else I tried! The vegan cookies made from one of NOW’s cookie mixes was AMAZING! My entire family would eat these cookies and not know they were vegan and love them. That’s huge! You should definitely order a box and make these! Trust me, these are going to WOW you!
After lunch, we got to experiment with their essential oils. Oils are another product consumers must be careful with. They can easily be contaminated and are often over priced. NOW tests their products before sending them down the production line and after! Their third party tests their products as well and even pulls them off retail shelves for additional testing. The NOW essential oils are organic, pure, and very affordable. Please stop spending more than you need to on essential oils!
In our DIY beauty session, led by Tina Tews, Solutions Brand Manager, we used their essential oils to make a facial mist and sports recovery bath soak. Not only did the facial mist moisturize my skin, it helped me relax during some frustrating moments that many people may experience flying in and out of O’Hare airport!
Our final session was led by Toni Church @runningonhappy and she was pure inspiration! Toni was in town to run the Chicago Marathon. She uses NOW products daily and shared how she uses them and tips on she trains for big races. After Toni’s session, we began to gather our things to depart for the airport. The thoughtful team at NOW Foods sent us home with quinoa cups so we had a healthy meal option! These came in handy when my flight was delayed.
Toni Church sharing how she trains for marathons and what NOW products she loves
Overall, my experience with NOW Foods enriched my life. Learning about their 50 years of success bringing natural products to consumers has inspired me. They deliver the best possible product and value to consumers. After seeing what they do and how, I have complete confidence in every product with a NOW label. I strongly encourage you to visit NOW’s 50th Anniversary page and learn more about their story.
Finally, I want to personally thank Alana Horinko of NOW Foods and Samantha Bonelli of Influence Central for this opportunity. Having wellness products that I can rely on motivates me everyday. I have a personal connection to this brand and will recommend them with complete confidence to my entire family and my family of readers (that’s you!).