WEGMANS: NATIONAL BRANDS ARE ALIVE AND WELL
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Wegmans Food Markets continues to build its private label, but it's not doing so at the expense of national brands, according to Mary Ellen Burris, senior vice president of consumer affairs. In her weekly consumer column, Burris said that Wegmans' buyers are reducing product duplication across the board to make room for the many new products that hit the market each year. But in response to consumer concerns that the retailer is discontinuing national brands only to put in Wegmans brands, she provided data to show that national brands remain a vital part of the store. So far this year, about 944 new national-brand products have been added in the grocery, dairy and frozen departments, while about 43 private-label items have been introduced, according to Burris. Reducing product duplication is necessary now more than ever, she said, due to the many different stockkeeping units often available for the same brand. She gave orange juice as an example. Once limited to pulp or pulp-free, there's now orange juice with some pulp, a lot of pulp, fiber, calcium, vitamin D or omega-3s. Burris went on to cite a study showing that consumers are beginning to rebel against having so much choice.