Industry Mourns Death of NOW Foods Founder Elwood Richard


The founder of natural products industry giant Now Foods passed away but leaves a legacy.

Elwood Richard, founder of natural products company NOW Foods (Bloomingdale, IL), passed away on April 7, 2017. He had been diagnosed with cancer. Richard retired as NOW Foods’ CEO in 2005, but remained involved in the business as chair of the company’s board of directors and as a member of the NOW Advocacy Team, the NOW Strategy Team, and the NOW Environmental Team.

Richard founded NOW Foods in 1968 and, together with his brother Lou, led the company through decades of growth, including expanding product lines and manufacturing facilities. Today, approximately 40 members of the Richard family are member-owners at the company.

Richard was also on the Managing Board of the Natural Health Research Institute, an organization he founded that is committed to informing consumers, scientists, the media, policymakers, and legislators about scientific evidence on the usefulness and cost-effectiveness of diet, supplements, and a healthy lifestyle to improve health and wellness. He was also the recipient of numerous industry awards, including induction into the New Hope Hall of Legends, the Natural Products Association (NPA) Lifetime Achievement Award, Nutrition Business Journal’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the NNFA Crusader Award, and most recently the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) Visionary Award. 

In a press release, Steve Mister, president and CEO of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN; Washington, DC), commented on Richard’s passing.

“We were saddened to learn about the passing of NOW Foods founder Elwood Richard,” said Mister. “He was a true pioneer in the dietary supplement industry and a strong advocate for supplement consumers. His record of involvement in the supplement industry is a long one, and his passion for ‘empowering people to lead healthier lives’ came across in every conversation, every communication, and to everyone who had the opportunity to know and work with him. His legacy for our industry will live on for many years. We send condolences to his family and to those who worked closely with him.”

NOW Foods says that those wishing to honor Elwood’s memory can do so by supporting the Natural Health Research Institute at

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