Wegmans Features Private Brand in the “Everything Organic Festival”

Rochester, New York based grocer Wegmans Food Markets announced a promotional event called the “Everything Organic Festival” at all stores from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on January 21 and again on January 28. The event is designed to introduce Wegman’s customers to the world of Private Brand organic products and will include sampling stations throughout the store.

“Organic foods have moved into the mainstream,” says Denise Pearson, marketing group manager at Wegmans. “They’re all over the store, not just in the produce and Nature’s Marketplace aisles. There’s organic milk, juice, eggs, butter, toast, and cereals for breakfast. For lunch, sandwiches made with organic bread and organic deli meats, or organic peanut butter and jam. For dinner, an organic salad mix with organic dressing, fresh or frozen organic veggies, organically raised meats and poultry. There’s even organic ice cream and organic sprinkles for dessert!”

The “Everything Organic Festival” will highlight the more than 200 Wegmans-brand organic items now carried in stores. Examples of the samples?

  • Bakery: Multigrain baguette with all-natural peanut butter and ‘Jammin’
  • Prepared Foods: Chicken dumplings (Jan. 21 only)
  • Deli: Multigrain baguette with sliced turkey (Jan. 28 only)
  • Meat: Cooked organic chicken breasts or organic ground beef
  • Dairy: Super Yogurt or scrambled eggs
  • Frozen: Burritos or frozen corn with butter
  • Seafood: Farmed Shrimp with bouillabaisse sauce (Jan. 28 only)

There will be a Kids Station where youngsters learn about favorite vegetables through coloring-table activities. They can taste organic veggie samples dipped in Wegmans Organic Ranch Dressing, and get a tattoo of garden-friendly creatures like ladybugs, worms or bees.

Grownups can test their knowledge of Wegmans organics with a Wheel of Fun quiz and enter to win a gift basket of Wegmans products for the organic seasonal kitchen. (Some of the newer products in the Wegmans line are shown in a two-page spread on the Organic Seasonal Kitchen in the 2012 winter issue of Wegmans Menu magazine).

Wegmans customers have embraced organics with enthusiasm: sales of Wegmans-brand organic products have increased by 29% from 2010 to 2011, company figures show. Especially popular are items such as organic milk, eggs, butter, yogurt, juice and snack items such as the Organic Mild Salsa and Tortilla Chips made from organic corn. “We believe this shows that many families with children like organic foods, and that customers want snacks that are not just fun to eat, but are also better for the environment,” Pearson says.

Organic foods sometimes cost more than conventionally produced counterparts, but choosing organics can benefit the air, water and soil. Organic farmers use time-tested ways to grow crops without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. They control weeds by tilling them into the soil, they use birds and insects to control pests, and they rotate crops to replenish the soil and reduce insect populations. In that way, they keep the balance of nature, protect the water supply, and improve the soil.

“It’s the first time we’ve had an event like this,” says Pearson, “but the increasing interest we’ve seen in organics told us that it was a good time to show what we offer and give customers a chance to taste items they might have been curious about, but hadn’t yet tried.”

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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.