Wegmans Expands Gluten-Free Private Brand

Wegmans gluten Free 1Last month With Trish Kazacos, RD with Wegman’s shared how Wegmans private brand gluten-free baking mixes can bring back holiday baking joy to those living gluten-free. When the grocer first introduced the mixes in May 2012, customer response was overwhelmingly positive. And customers told the retailer they wanted great-tasting, affordable, ready-to-eat gluten-free treats for birthdays, parties, or other celebrations.

The Pilot
The test bakery included all new equipment and was located near Wegmans headquarters in Rochester, NY. When deciding what to make, Bakery Category Merchant Mike Gross explains “We used the same recipes for the ready-to-eat cookies and cupcakes that we used in the packaged baking mixes, so customers who’d fallen in love with the mies could get the same great flavor and texture in the fresh-baked version.” Again customer feedback was extremely positive:

Wegmans gluten Free 3Sinfully Delicious!
A friend’s husband bought these for a party, not realizing they were gluten-free. We were all skeptical about trying them…but they taste even better than the regular brownies. As a matter of fact, they are the best brownies I have ever eaten…

The test bakery’s space was small and could only provide fresh-baked items for two of the Rochester- area stores. Wegmans needed to find a partner supplier in order to offer items to all of theur stores.

The Expansion
Wegmans found a supplier, Get Fresh Bakehouse in Fairfield, NJ. The company was started by a father whose daughter has celiac disease. He was passionate about creating great tasting gluten-free foods that she and others could enjoy. Now they can supply all of their stores with:

Gluten-Free Frosted Double Chocolate Brownies: Loaded with chocolate chunks and topped with a luscious chocolate buttercreme frosting.

Gluten-Free Assorted Cupcakes: Moist, light, and indulgent! The four-pack contains two vanilla cupcakes topped with premium vanilla buttercreme frosting and two chocolate cupcakes, frosted with rich chocolate frosting – inspired by and very similar to Wegmans’ Ultimate Cupcakes.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies: Just like the ones you remember, only gluten-free. Made with semi-sweet chocolate chips, brown sugar, a touch of honey, white rice flour, sweet rice flour and cornstarch.

Gluten-Free Snickerdoodles: Same delicious vanilla flavor as Wegmans Gluten-Free Sugar Cookie baking mix. These are rolled in cinnamon-sugar for that wonderful old-fashioned Snickerdoodle taste.

All are produced in a dedicated, gluten-free facility that is overseen by a Culinary Institute of America trained pastry chef. The brownies and cupcakes are boxed and then the package is shrink-wrapped. The cookies are sold eight to a box and each cookie is individually wrapped in cellophane. The packaged products are shipped frozen, thawed as needed, and sold in the in-store bakery departments.

SOURCE: Wegmans Fresh Stories

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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.