ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Wegmans Food Markets here plans to add canned and frozen private-label vegetables to a line of products that have been grown with minimum chemical use.
The selection, grown with Integrated Pest Management techniques, is slated to roll out by the fall. IPM is an agricultural method that encourages natural pest control; beneficial insects and plants are used instead of pesticides. "We feel there are so many other things that [growers] can do before they have to use chemicals," said Colleen Wegman, category manager for natural foods. The vegetables are being introduced by Wegmans and Comstock Michigan Fruit, a food processor based here. Comstock will pack six varieties of IPM vegetables: peas, beans, sweet corn, carrots, beets and cabbage. The items will be part of Wegmans' "Foods You Feel Good About" line, which contains no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, Wegman said.
Canned IPM vegetables will be available at Wegmans locations in either late August or early September, Wegman said. The frozens line will follow soon after, though no specific launch date has been set.
The IPM products will be stocked next to regular canned and frozen vegetables. A special logo will separate them from products grown with traditional agricultural methods.
The canned and frozen vegetables are part of an expansion of Wegmans' IPM products. The retailer introduced IPM-grown sweet corn in produce at one unit last summer. In a customer survey, 85% of Wegmans customers said they would prefer to purchase vegetables grown through the IPM program, Wegman said.