The summit, held in July, gave an opportunity for manufacturers to present their new and trending food and beverage products for potential inclusion in Wakefern’s award-winning private label lines Bowl & Basket and Wholesome Pantry. Wakefern’s private brands are found at the cooperative’s member supermarkets including ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage and Fairway Market.
The four winning suppliers can expect to have their products join the Bowl & Basket or Wholesome Pantry brand lines by spring 2023. The winners are the following companies, as described by Wakefern:
Delica North America: Bean-to-bar Swiss chocolate and confection facility Delica is part of Migros Industry and one of the world’s largest own-brand producers, offering more than 20,000 products in more than 50 countries.
GlutenLibre: Founded by two bakers who met in manufacturing 15 years ago, GlutenLibre offers certified gluten-free and vegan plant-based frozen dumplings. GlutenLibre only uses wholesome, all natural ingredients with no artificial flavors or colors, preservatives, nitrates, hormones or antibiotics.
The Perfect Bite Co.: A trend-setting manufacturer that offers a “fresh take on frozen,” the Perfect Bite Co. has built their business by offering a foundation of delicious foods including breakfast, single serve meals, bowls and value added vegetables and grains.
Prana Gourmet Foods, Inc.: New Jersey-based Prana offers innovative "On-the-Go" meal solutions that address mainstream plant-based trends. Their extensive product line includes shelf-stable meals made from rice, quinoa, and noodles in both conventional and organic varieties.
Finalists were invited to present their products in-person to Wakefern executives at Wakefern’s offices in Elizabeth, N.J. during the one-day summit. The live event included 15-minute pitch presentations, as well as product samplings, with each product prepared and plated on-site by Wakefern chef Richard Giacalone and the Wakefern own brand quality Assurance team. Products were judged by several Wakefern executives.
“We are incredibly proud of the teamwork that went into making our very first Own Brands Supplier Innovation Summit such a successful and rewarding endeavor,” said Bryant Harris, chief merchandising officer at Wakefern. “As a result of the event, we’ve identified four exciting, innovative food and beverage companies that will expand the on-trend, high-quality offerings of our own brands portfolio.”
Keasbey, N.J.-based Wakefern Food Corp. consists of close to 50 members that independently own and operate 360-plus supermarkets under the ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage and Fairway Market banners in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Together with its member companies, Wakefern employs nearly 80,000 people. The company is No. 25 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 listing of North America’s top food and consumables retailers in North America.