ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Pasta, cakes, cookies and brownies are the first products in a private-label line of gluten-free foods from Wegmans Food Markets.
Among the new items:
- Gluten-free spaghetti, fusilli, penne and elbows, in one-pound boxes that sell for $2.49.
- A vanilla cake mix and chocolate cake mix. Each mix makes one 8-inch round cake layer and sells for $3.49.
- A gluten-free sugar cookie mix, which sells for $3.49 and makes 22 cookies.
- A double chocolate brownie mix for $3.49 that makes one 8-inch square pan of brownies.
The new items come at a time of growing demand for gluten-free items. Wegmans’ gluten-free section has grown from a 12-foot section to several aisles in the Nature’s Marketplace department of the store.
“We see more gluten-free products every year, and the quality keeps improving,” Charlie Gardner, category merchant for Wegman’s Nature’s Marketplace section, said in a statement.
The private-brand pasta was created based on customer input. Last July, about 100 customers tasted existing gluten-free pastas, plus the ones Wegmans had in development. The winner was a corn-based pasta. While other brands seemed mushy, the Wegmans pasta kept its texture even after sitting in the pot for a while, according to Gardner.
“Not only are the flavor and texture pleasing, but we think home cooks will have more success with it,” he said.
As for the cakes, cookies and brownies, Patty Fowler, one of Wegmans’ artisan bakers, worked for nearly a year testing different recipes.
“My vision of what the brownies should be was dark and decadent — like the best brownies you ever had,” Fowler said in a statement. “We worked hard to get to that point, and I’m very pleased with the result.”