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Wakefern Announces Own Brand Supplier Summit Winners

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Keasbey, New Jersey-based Wakefern Food Corp. has announced the winners of its first Own Brands Supplier Innovation Summit. Held in July, the event provided an opportunity for private label manufacturers to present food and beverage products for potential inclusion in Wakefern’s private label lines, Bowl & Basket and Wholesome Pantry. 

“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, CMO 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.”

The summit launched in March as an open call to private label manufacturers. More than 240 entries, representing 1,400 products, were submitted and reviewed by Wakefern’s category managers.

Finalists were invited to present their products in-person to Wakefern executives at its offices in Elizabeth, New Jersey, 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 chef Richard Giacalone and his quality assurance team.

Products were judged by key Wakefern executives, including Harris; Jeff Mondelli, VP of grocery, DSD and specialty grocery; Catherine Magistrelli, VP of dairy and frozen; Pamela Ofri, director of product development operations, Own Brands; Ayana Summerville, product manager, Own Brands Grocery; and Courtney Siesselprocurement manager of frozen. The event was hosted by Rebecca Montemarano, lead innovation and marketing category manager, who coordinated and organized it with Robert Jones, associate buyer.

The chosen suppliers, slated to see their products appear on store shelves as part of the Bowl & Basket or Wholesome Pantry brand lines by spring include Delica North America in the candy category, Prana Gourmet Foods for prepared foods, GlutenLibre for frozen appetizers and The Perfect Bite Company in frozen entrees.

Wakefern’s premium private label lines, Wholesome Pantry, Bowl & Basket and Paperbird, offer consumers on-trend, high-quality food options at budget-friendly prices. Since its introduction in 2018, the award-winning own brands lines have seen consistent growth throughout the cooperative’s retail footprint. Wakefern’s Bowl & Basket brand was awarded the Private Label Manufacturers Association Salute to Excellence Award in 2021 and its Wholesome Pantry brand was awarded two Private Label Manufacturers Association Salute to Excellence Awards in 2017. 

For more information, visit wakefern.com.

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Featured Photo PLMA Annual Private Label Trade Show
Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
Chicago, Illinois
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