It is extremely common to hear people in the Private Brand industry tout Wegmans as a leader in Private Brand, operations and customer experience however all too often they have a difficult time pointing to one specific thing that illustrates that leadership. This story from the retailers official blog Wegmans Fresh Stories” about the Culinary Innovation Center’s partnership with New York City based celebrity chef David Bouley to create a new line of Private Brand sauces is the the perfect illustration of Wegmans excellence in Private Brands and differentiation.
What About Sauces!?
We have come a long way from our grassroots beginnings here at the Culinary Innovation Center. It is like anything else that we do at Wegmans, we start with an idea and we talk about it a little bit. Then we let it stew, and if it has merit in helping our customers, we decide how we want to move forward with the idea. Our sauce line was born very much like that. In our former facility we had started making soups and mashed potatoes for our store Prepared Foods departments and things were moving along nicely for the food service side of things. Then the question of retail sauces came up….pause….then it came up again.
David Bouley, a renowned Manhattan chef and Wegmans partner for many years, had an arsenal of phenomenal sauces. These sauces had worked well for him in his restaurants and he wanted to share some of them with Wegmans customers for their home cooking. The sauces were reviewed and the choices made; we would start with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce, Bouillabaisse Sauce, and Citrus Soy Sauce. The initial team had a lot of work ahead of them. They not only had to source the specialty ingredients, but this project would require a brand-new machine and new techniques we’d never attempted before. The original machine we chose packaged sauces in 8-oz. pouches. It seemed to be the right choice. So the team pressed on and the sauce line was launched.
By this time we had moved to the state-of-the-art facility we occupy today, and different options were available to us. We sourced a new machine for packaging that allowed us to put the sauces into smaller, more easily merchandised 4-oz. cups. They had a better appearance and came in a smaller size that was perfect for a one-time use. And, if you didn’t use it all up, the handy snap lid also let you keep leftovers fresh in the fridge. Our Chef Team felt the 8-oz. pouch was simply too much for average everyday meal preparation. We decided 4-oz. was a perfect portion size for two people who just wanted to put together a simple but great-tasting dinner. Our 4-oz. sauces work great with sides and entrées (and this size also includes the popular Lemon Butter Sauce).