STORE BRANDS: GETTING INTO SHAPE

A few big branders have been helping to juice up the gummi candy business. But for some retailers, the juice may also be coming from private-label gummies.sburg, Pa., achieved overall sales increases in its gummi candy business last year in large part due to the introduction of a line under its own label."Last year, we started buying the gummies in bulk and packaging them ourselves, under our own

A few big branders have been helping to juice up the gummi candy business. But for some retailers, the juice may also be coming from private-label gummies.

sburg, Pa., achieved overall sales increases in its gummi candy business last year in large part due to the introduction of a line under its own label.

"Last year, we started buying the gummies in bulk and packaging them ourselves, under our own label. We carry that in addition to other brands," said Bill Fox, vice president.

"Right now, our brand is outselling the others. We have been giving it premium display space. We display it in a mass display in the aisle quite frequently," Fox said. He added that the label's lower price is probably responsible for movement that is topping the branded items.

Roche Bros. Supermarkets, Wellesley Hills, Mass., is mulling over creating its first private-label gummi line, after having successfully introduced items from Lifesavers and a gummi candy from wholesale distributor Sweet Life Foods in the last year, according to Chuck Lisi, grocery director.

"Eventually, we will introduce our own private-label gummi candy, but that is probably more than a year away," Lisi said.

Trader Joe's, South Pasadena, Calif., does not currently carry any gummi candy. However, the specialty food store chain, with 62 units in California and Arizona, plans to introduce an all-natural gummi candy product under its own label this fall, said Cara Kiyohara, buyer.

Apparently, a store-brand gummi candy is not right for some chains, however. A private-label gummi candy was considered, but rejected, by Safeway's Phoenix division because "the subcategory is not that large," said Bob Sheldon, manager of sales and grocery merchandising for the division. "Private label is not an option," he said.