Thirty years ago, if you had asked me to describe the health foods industry, I would have given you an answer couched in smoke and mirrors with a healthy dose of snake-oil salesman thrown in for good measure. I’d grown up eating ding dongs and drinking Dr Peppers on a regular basis. When my family got sick, we went to the doctor for an antibiotic. Our impression of naturopathic medicine involved tonics that were 90-proof and a certain sense of mystery.
Today, the health foods industry and its growing popularity have certainly attracted a fair share of mysterious, dubious sales pitches, usually making promises that are not only lies but also illegal claims. Anyone with an internet page and a dinky garage big enough to set up some used equipment can liquify or encapsulate a product that promises to solve any or all ills.
But the health foods industry is a growing, thriving segment of our national economy because many manufacturers exist who do business right. Far from being snake-oil salesmen, these leaders in our industry provide quality products that consumers seeking to fill nutritional gaps and restore balance to the body can truly trust.
Weaving through the maze of nefarious health producers to find companies and products that provide quality that you can trust is a full-time job. At Betsy’s Health Foods, we pride ourselves on our ability to cut through the maze of healthy and not-so-healthy products out there in order to provide you with the best possible products available.
Did you know that not all raw materials are created equally? Often, manufacturers receive raw materials as bulk powders which claim to be a particular herb or ingredient. Reputable companies must test raw materials to determine if the material is what it claims to be, is free from other, unwanted materials, has no toxins or heavy metals, etc.
When a manufacturer rejects an order of raw material, do you think the supplier throws the rejected material away? Of course not. Instead, the supplier merely shops around until he finds a manufacturer who does not have the same, stringent standards as the one who rejected his supply in the first place. Those once-rejected raw materials eventually wind up in products that you might purchase from box-store or online shelves.
There are other questions about the ways a manufacturer does business that can be important to health-conscious consumers. Does a manufacturer use sustainable practices and materials? Do they pay a fair wage, even in countries where they could get away with paying so much less? Do they only harvest plants that are not in danger of extinction?
As the nutrition industry continues to gain momentum, other companies, corporations that have never had anything to do with health and wellness categories, are seeking to become part of the healthier-living conversation. P & G and even Clorox are buying major vitamin brands. How can you know what effects these buyouts are having on brands you formerly trusted?
There are many criteria to consider when looking at products. Here are just a few of the answers Betsy’s seeks about the products we carry so that you don’t have to worry about finding these answers yourself:
- How does the company assess raw materials?
- Where do raw materials come from?
- Does the company have its own organic farms? How much of its raw materials come to it in complete plant form rather than in powdered form?
- How does the company process finished products? How often do they test the products throughout manufacture?
- Can the company provide certificate of analysis, third-party as well as internal testing, and information about FDA visits to the facilities?
- What kinds of certifications do products have to help ensure us about issues like non-GMO, organic, kosher and more?
- How does the company track ingredients and products throughout the manufacturing process?
- How much can the company tell us about a finished product based on its lot number?
- Do finished products have clinical trials using people as test subjects or merely in vitro testing?
- Are ingredients in products at clinical doses?
- What assurance do we have that the capsules or tablets or liquids contain only what the label says they contain and in the amounts indicated on the label?
- What claims are important enough to base a buying decision on and which claims are more marketing “hype?”
At Betsy’s Health Foods, we strive to get you the right product, the first time. That means we get to know the products we carry as well as possible before recommending them to our customers. We also train on our products so that we know the right questions to ask our customers to get them the products they truly need, products that they can trust.
Besides our visits to trade shows, where we get to meet with company executives, formulators and other important industry leaders to get our questions answered face-to-face, we also take every opportunity offered to us to physically visit manufacturing facilities and see how the products we sell get made, first-hand.
When you step into one of our three Betsy’s locations, you get the benefit of our experience of more than three decades in the health industry, studying its trends, keeping a sharp eye on its safety and health concerns, and learning which products work best for our customers and why. We look forward to every opportunity you give us to be “always taking your health and your budget to heart®.”