What Is Care/of?
Care/of is a monthly subscription service that delivers 30-packs of personalized vitamins directly to your door. And because they source their ingredients directly and manufacture their own supplements, they claim to help customers save up to 20 percent compared to local health food store brands.
Unlike many other supplement manufacturers and retailers, the company also places a big emphasis on providing subscribers with honest guidance, based on their different goals and lifestyles, and to be transparent about the level of scientific evidence supporting each of their ingredients. The whole process works over three steps:
- By answering a few quiz-based questions, Care/of will learn more about your values and goals.
- Receive recommendations based on your answers, which can be adjusted as you see fit.
- Received a box of personalized daily packs once per month, and adjust or cancel your subscription as needed.
Once subscribed, Care/of also offers a free iOS app that can help you “unlock savings, set reminders, and learn how your vitamins boost your health along the way.”
There’s no doubt that the company has a compelling marketing angle. But, when it comes to supplements, is it all about ease of use and low prices? In other words, can you reasonably expect Care/of to help move you along your path to personal health, as claimed on their website?
Here, we’ll help you find answers to your most pressing questions—starting with a brief overview of the process.
How Does Care/of Work?
Care/of’s personalization quiz took us less than five minutes to complete, which started by asking basic questions like name, your level of knowledge about supplements, if you’ve taken them in the past, gender, age, and state.
Then, you’ll indicate why you’re interested in supplements (e.g., specific need, general health, looking for something new) and pick one or more goals, such as brain, energy, heart, immunity, skin, digestion, stress, and/or bones.
We chose ‘energy’ during our research and were met with another three to five questions, such as “Do you have trouble sleeping at night?” and “Do you feel burnt out or fatigued?”
The next set of questions revolved around lifestyle details like the number of times we eat fish or seafood/meat/vegetables/dairy per day or week, the amount of exercise we get, alcohol consumption, whether or not we smoke, computer use, food allergies, and any diets we’re currently on.
Finally, values-related questions revolved around our level of skepticism regarding Ayurvedic medicine, as well as for promising new clinical research.
After spending 3-5 minutes answering questions, Care/of recommended we take vitamin D and fish oil supplements, at the cost of $21 per month. Credit: Noho Health Inc.
Speaking of which, Care/of emphasizes that “scientific research is nuanced and dynamic,” so they classify each ingredient they sell based on existing research (e.g., number of studies, consistency of results, the magnitude of results, and methodology characteristics) as follows:
- Mixed Research - Some studies with positive results, but others that have been less conclusive
- Emerging Research – Most research is relatively recent, but promising
- Strong Research – High-quality studies performed with positive results
- Very Strong Research – Near scientific consensus based upon high-quality studies
- Traditionally Used – These products have been trusted across cultures for centuries
In addition to Care/of’s recommendations, customers can build their own pack by choosing among a total of 30 different vitamins, minerals, herbs, and probiotics, at 1-3 doses per day, depending on the specific ingredient.
Once you’re ready to finalize your selections and subscribe, you’ll receive a monthly box that contains 30 individual packs, which are meant to be taken once per day. When the time comes, the company will automatically send your next monthly shipment to arrive before you run out.
Because Care/of develops their own vitamins and supplements with the help of their Scientific Advisory Board, which consists of doctors, scientists, and nutrition experts, they only source ingredients from reputable suppliers. They also test their ingredients for labeling accuracy and health and safety standards, while avoiding the use of harsh solvents or processing materials.
Does Care/of’s App Add Meaningful Functionality?
After setting up your subscription through the website, Care/of’s iOS app allows you to view each pack’s contents and their potential health benefits, while helping you earn achievements and get free stuff. Credit: Apple Corporation
Currently only available for iOS (no word regarding an Android version), the Care/of app largely works as an extension of their website by allowing you to:
- View products in your current pack
- Set reminders to help avoid missing a dose
- Track your supplement and vitamin consumption
- Learn more about the ingredients you’re taking, including how they impact your body and potentially boost your health
- Work toward your health goals
- Earn rewards for free stuff, as long as you consistently take your vitamins
How Much Do Care/of Supplements & Vitamins Cost?
The exact price of your Care/of subscription will depend on the specific ingredients you choose to include. With this said, here are their individual ingredient prices:
- Vitamin B12: $5/mo
- B-Complex: $16/mo
- Vitamin C: $5/mo
- Vitamin D: $5/mo
- Prenatal: $25/mo
- Vitamin K2: $9/mo
- Multivitamin: $15/mo
- Magnesium: $8/mo
- Calcium Plus: $12/mo
- Iron: $5/mo
- Zinc: $5/mo
- Ashwagandha: $8/mo
- Rhodiola: $8/mo
- Bacopa: $8/mo
- Turmeric: $8/mo
- Elderberry: $8/mo
- Milk Thistle: $8/mo
- Garlic: $8/mo
- Evening Primrose: $10/mo
- Saw Palmetto: $8/mo
- Probiotic Blend: $8/mo
- S. boulardii: $16/mo
- Fish Oil: $16/mo
- Veggie Omega: $18/mo
- Astaxanthin: $9/mo
- Digestive Enzymes: $5/mo
- CoQ10: $9/mo
Care/of ships their supplements to all 50 states. Orders $20 and over include free shipping; otherwise, it’s a flat rate of $8.
The company will send you a new box of vitamins once per month, and you can adjust, pause, or cancel your subscription at any time.
All Care/of orders also come with a 30-day refund policy, even if “you’ve already taken a bunch of the packs,” which you can request by contacting 877-227-3631 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Can We Learn From Care/of Online Customer Reviews?
We didn’t encounter a whole lot of online customer feedback for Care/of at the time of our research, although most of what we did find seemed positive.
On iTunes, nearly 30 users had given the app an average rating of about fours stars, with common compliments referencing very useful information about what works and what doesn’t, ease of use/simplistic design, and helpful functionality. What few complaints there were commonly related to general bugginess.
Buzzfeed’s Emmy Favilla tried out the subscription service and found they were about $10 more per month than purchasing the least expensive options on Amazon. However, she emphasized:
“I trust the high production standards that Care/of is committed to: Its products are made ethically, sustainably, and without harsh solvents or processing materials. (Jury’s still out on whether the same can be said for the cheap alternatives I used for price comparison.)”
From a company perspective, Noho Health Inc. (dba Care/of) is based out of NYC, has been in business since 2015, and was co-founded by CEO Craig Elbert and Head of Product Akash Shah. According to their LinkedIn profiles, Craig previously worked as VP of Marketing for Bonobos, while Akash also co-founded Hometeam and Spur, Inc.
While the company currently offers a range of 30 ingredients, Craig told TechCrunch that they plan to add up to 125 different options in the near future.
Care/of vs. Vitafive & Vitamin Packs
If you search online for a supplement or vitamin subscription options, you’ll find that most manufacturers and retailers offer some type of recurring shipping program, where customers can customize which products they’d like to receive. You’ll also encounter plenty of supplement-oriented monthly subscription companies—often centered around a theme—like Bulu Box, Jacked Pack, Super Gains, etc.
But are there any other companies competing directly with Care/of, who deliver high-quality, personalized vitamin and mineral ingredients on a monthly basis, and in individualized packs? We only came across two:
This was the most similar to Care/of, which utilizes a quick, quiz-based assessment, as well as personalized recommendations based on an algorithm developed by a team of experts.
And while Vitamin Packs doesn’t provide a complete list of all the ingredients they offer, nor the ability to further customize orders, the ones recommended to us based on our quiz answers ranged in price between $0.09-$1.06 per ingredient, per day.
Compared to Care/of and Vitamin Packs, Vitafive is more of a niche company, offering custom gummy vitamins.
Customers can choose between one or more of eight different ingredients (omega-3, biotin, probiotic, vitamin D3, vitamin C, multivitamin, calcium and D3, and melatonin), which are priced between $3-$14 per month, each, depending on the quantity you choose.
How can you decide which of these services—if any—represents your best option? Let’s carry this over as we come to a conclusion.
Our Final Thoughts About Care/of
The HighYa team has collectively written about more than 650 nutritional supplements over the years. And perhaps the single most important piece of advice we’ve learned is that, according to organizations like the National Institutes of Health and Nutrition.gov (to name just a couple), otherwise healthy individuals don’t need to take them.
In layman’s terms, unless you’re deficient in one or more of the ingredients they contain, there’s little clinical evidence showing that ingesting dietary supplements will provide real-world benefits.
With this said, we find it refreshing that Care/of emphasizes: “vitamins and supplements are most effective when tailored to help you fill gaps in your diet or reach health goals,” and not “all supplements have equal levels of scientific evidence or traditional history.”
Also, we appreciate the fact that they’re transparent about their sourcing practices and supply chain, their products are tested for potency before reaching customers, and that their quiz-based assessment adds a gamification factor that can make it fun and compelling to use.
But keep in mind that completing an entertaining quiz doesn’t replace a physician’s advice about a specific ingredient’s effectiveness, as well as potential side effects or medication interactions.
Bottom line: Care/of really does seem like an ethical company that has their customers’ best interests in mind. Whether or not you’ll achieve meaningful value from their vitamins and supplements, though, largely hinges on what your doctor advises during your appointment.