How We Guarantee Freshness
At NOW we go to great lengths to ensure the freshness of our products. Unlike chemicals or synthetic products, natural products are susceptible to damage from oxygen, light, heat and moisture, so we utilize a variety of contemporary methods to preserve freshness.
Ageless® oxygen absorbers
When manufacturing certain products we insert an Ageless® oxygen packet, which absorbs oxygen and helps control humidity throughout the life of the product. NOW was one of the first industry manufacturers to recognize the importance of protecting natural products from the damaging oxidative effects that occur from oxygen exposure.
Another method we use to control oxygen exposure is gas flushing. Gas flushing is a process performed during package filling where an odorless, tasteless gas (typically a blend of carbon dioxide and nitrogen) is rapidly injected into the package to expel oxygen prior to sealing. Gas flushing also helps to preserve the beneficial properties of many natural products. This freshness preservation method is typically used for food products such as nuts and seeds, which are highly susceptible to oxidation.
Dessicants and molecular sieves
Dessicants are used to absorb moisture during packaging and help to control moisture in certain natural products until the package is opened by the consumer. For products that are highly sensitive to moisture we use a stronger dessicant called a molecular sieve, particularly for probiotic products with live organisms that require moisture-free packaging.
Packaging is the front line of defense against light, heat, moisture and oxygen. Without quality packaging that’s suited to an individual product, all other efforts to ensure product freshness are most likely doomed to fail. For instance, PETE plastic bottles are appropriate for the majority of our products, but some probiotics and other natural ingredients maintain their freshness and efficacy longer when packaged in dark glass or high density polyethylene (HDPE) bottles. NOW utilizes a wealth of technical data, and decades of experience, when choosing the best packaging for our products.
NOW performed quality testing and a sophisticated leaching study prior to making the transition to 100% PCR (Post Consumer Recycled) Resin in 2023, taking nearly two years to make sure that bottle quality would not be inferior or cause any quality issues.
- Oxygen permeability testing: Our tests showed that the PCR bottles performed as well as or better than our current virgin resin PET bottles, which means they provide an adequate barrier for consistent quality of product.
- Water vapour permeability testing: Our tests showed that the PCR bottles performed as well as or better than our current virgin resin PET bottles, which means the bottles provide adequate barrier protection.
- Leaching study: Our results showed that we had comparable results in both the virgin resin and PCR resin, which means the bottles provide protection from contamination.
- Micro testing for yeast and mold: All samples of PCR PET bottles met specifications for total aerobic count, yeast, and mold.
An important aspect of freshness is understanding the unique storage conditions required for individual natural ingredients and finished products alike. We do our homework and familiarize ourselves with specific climate requirements for each ingredient we purchase (and product we produce), and we store our materials appropriately to ensure freshness and efficacy through the “Best By” date.