ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Corporate-brand products are among the items taking up less shelf space while bearing the same price tag at Wegmans, Mary Ellen Burris, senior vice president of consumer affairs, conceded in her latest online column. She explained that when it comes to controlling private-label costs, the retailer is sometimes at the mercy of its store-brand suppliers. “Customers have asked why at least on Wegmans brand, we couldn’t keep size the same and just increase the price,” she said in her column. “Wegmans brand suppliers often make products for other retailers (different recipes but same package size). It’s more costly for them to produce varying product sizes for different customers. So they often limit production to only one size; when costs rise sharply, it’s a new ‘smaller’ container.” National-brand manufacturers are similarly controlling costs. “Our buyers gave me recent examples: ice cream ‘half gallons’ now only 1.5 quarts, down from 1.75; potato chips, down about an ounce; mayo, down 2 ounces to 30 ounces; tuna, down to 5 ounces, from 6,” said Burris.
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