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In Pursuit of Quality

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In Pursuit of Quality

When Barrie Carlsen founded Quest Vitamin Supplements in 1976, his goal was to provide high-quality natural health supplements - the kind that he had been searching for but hadn't found in Canada.

When Barrie Carlsen founded Quest Vitamin Supplements in 1976, his goal was to provide high-quality natural health supplements - the kind that he had been searching for but hadn't found in Canada.

Ensuring Quality from the Start

Carlsen, a former competitive weightlifter and a vegetarian, first became interested in health food and natural supplements in the 1950s. He made extensive product testing one of Quest’s top priorities from the start.

“Barrie had very high standards,” recalls Donna Herringer, general manager of the Vancouver-based company. “Even when we suffered financially, he was never willing to sacrifice quality. Barrie was always a real stickler about that.”

Quest started out with five products for sale: “Once A Day” and “Super Once A Day” multivitamins, “Super Stress” B-complex formula, “Mega B” B-complex vitamins, and “Vitamin C 1000 mg.” Of “Super Once A Day,” Herringer says, “Its formula hasn’t changed one iota since it first came out. It’s quite amazing that it’s still such a good seller, 30 years later.” In fact, it is the top-selling multivitamin in Canadian natural health food stores.

Herringer points out that “Quest with Quality” has always been one of the company’s slogans. “We were testing the quality of our products long before other companies got into it.” Today, Quest runs its own product-testing laboratory and conducts thorough quality testing five different times during the manufacturing process.

Changing of the Guard

Carlsen sold Quest in 1993 and moved on to other ventures in the health food industry. The company was eventually bought by Jamieson Laboratories in 2003.

According to Herringer, Jamieson bought the company because of the admiration owner Eric Margolis had for the Quest product line. She says Margolis wants to bring Quest back to the grassroots company it was during its early years. “Since Jamieson bought it, Quest has returned more to what it was in the old days. We’re really focused on developing better relationships with our customers and forming stronger partnerships with our retailers.”

A Global Vision

At the same time, Quest is looking to expand its international reach. The company’s products are sold in four countries, and they’re currently in negotiations with Australia and China.Quest has also recently embarked on a new partnership with Dr. Andrew Weil, the well-known author and teacher of integrative medicine. Quest has agreed to manufacture and distribute Dr. Weil’s new line of products in Canada. Proceeds from the sales will go to the Weil Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating medical practitioners in the principles of integrative medicine.

In the future, Quest plans to introduce more items, including new food and body care products. “We’re going to be bigger and better and more dedicated than ever to the health food industry and our customers,” Herringer promises.

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