Private Brand Chocolates Taste Great

These boxes represent the chocolate-topped cookies that Wolfgang Candy Company produces for generic brands. (Daily Record/Sunday News -- Chris Dunn)

An interesting article on the Wolfgang Candy Company and Private Brands from the York, Pennsylvania newspaper the York Daily Record.

York company’s private labels gain exposure

Somebody makes those store-brand products. When they do, their national retail sales can rise.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s one of the most questioned origins of all time:

“Mommy, where do store-brand products come from?”

Logic deduces that Weis Quality must be made by the Sunbury-based grocery chain’s own food factory. Walmart itself must have harvested and packed those canned beans bearing their Great Value label.

But that’s not the case for the increasing “private label” products hitting shelves — an effort, perhaps, by competitive grocery stores to tempt customers with something they can’t find anywhere else.

And though they might not get the credit, the mystery manufacturers, mostly smaller companies with less brand loyalty than a Hershey’s or Frito Lay, are gaining exposure for their products, albeit under a different name.

Mike Schmid, former managing partner and chief marketing officer for Wolfgang Candy Company, didn’t mind the confusion, he said earlier this year.

Go ahead. If you want to believe CVS and Walgreens own closeted cookie cooperatives that are baking the DeLish and Absolutely Divine truffle cookies sold at more than 14,000 drug stores nationwide, he won’t stop you.

There’s nothing on the box telling you otherwise — that those treats were actually produced by York County hands at the confectioner’s North York plant.

“The consumer ultimately knows it’s a CVS product,” said Schmid, who recently left the company. “It’s not a matter of trying to trick them. It’s a matter of making the product look just as good as anything they’ve ever seen, if not better.”

While some companies aren’t as open, the privately held confectioner is proud of the brands under which it, unbeknownst to most, feeds sweet tooth’s nationwide. Until 2004, Wolfgang’s fundraising packages accounted for almost 100 percent of sales, Schmid said.

Read the entire article.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.