A die-hard Wegmans shopper shares the 11 house brand products you didn't know you needed.

By Elizabeth Sile
August 02, 2019
Getty/Wegmans

I am a proud member of the church of Wegmans. As a Rochester, New York native, I can’t remember a time growing up where my family didn’t buy food at our city’s famous grocery store. According to my mom, when I was first learning to talk, I would cheer, “Weg-wams!” whenever we passed our local store, and I have taken many a friend and my future husband to the flagship store for lunch and a tour like we were at an actual tourist attraction (which, in a way, we kind of were).

Growing up, my family relied on Wegmans to not only stretch our dollars on groceries through their house brand products and excellent produce section, but also for quick meals in a pinch—whether at the famous sub shop (I’m sorry, but Publix subs have nothing on a Danny’s Favorite) in the store’s Market Café or via shortcut items like precut veggies and marinated meats for throwing on the grill. We tried new foods from other countries in the International aisles and always grabbed Wegmans cakes and baked goods for birthdays and celebrations.

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Shopping at other grocery stores just doesn’t compare: They don’t have cooking demos, enormous health food sections, affordable produce that stays fresh for days (Wegmans was far ahead of the organic and feature local trends), and so many other details and experiences (hello olive, zoodle, and trail mix bars) that make shopping genuinely fun. We Wegmans shoppers are proud, too, that the company remains family-owned and has been named one of the country’s best employers year after year, a fact which I can also attest to having worked as a part-time cashier (with benefits and a 401K) for a few years in college.

Every Wegmans shopper has their favorite go-to items, whether they’re specialty snacks, prepared foods, or just good value basics. Having spent my whole life shopping there, these are the 11 best Wegmans products—the ones I absolutely can’t live without.

Wegmans Sparkling Water

When I’m at Wegmans, I stock up on the store’s house brand sparkling water by the trunkful. They carry your usual La Croix knockoffs—lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit—but then take it to the next level with their own flavors. I’m partial to the ginger and black cherry vanilla when a soda craving hits, and also love blackberry tangerine, mango lime, and cherry pomegranate. The best part is the price: $2.99 for 12 cans (my non-Wegmans grocery store charges $7 for La Croix) and often further on sale with a Shoppers Club card.

Wegmans Butter Boy French Butter With Sea Salt

Anyone who has been to Wegmans knows: The Cheese Shop is on another level. They carry excellent French brie and local goat cheeses and all kinds of crackers, dried fruits, and nuts (not to mention the Mediterranean Olive Bar too, of course) to make the Instagrammable cheese board of your dreams. But perhaps the most amazing find in the cheese department is the Wegmans Butter Boy, a hand-churned salted butter made by Rodolphe le Meunierin in France. This is not butter for cooking. This is really fancy treat-yourself butter. Though it is a whopping $17.99 a pound (but sold in much smaller quantities), it sells out regularly, making it something of a cult find. Eat it on fresh Wegmans baguette. 

Wegmans Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets

Most grocery stores carry some kind of peanut butter-filled pretzel nuggets, but Wegmans makes these even more of a treat by dipping them in chocolate. For $8 for big tub, you get the perfect sweet-and-salty snack or dessert.

Wegmans Organic Honeycrisp Apple Breakfast Bread

Wegmans carries an array of standout breads—some baked in store, like their famous rosemary olive oil loaf and delicious five-grain, four-seed multigrain bread, and others pre-packaged, including pitas and sandwich breads. My favorite unique-to-Wegmans find though is the honeycrisp apple breakfast bread, which has real, baked-in pieces of apple and is heavenly with a little butter and cinnamon or schmear of peanut butter.

Wegmans Famous Chocolate Chip Mini Cookies

Little Wegmans shoppers (aka kids) can get a free mini cookie at the bakery every time they visit, but adults love the brand’s mini chocolate chip cookies, too. They make great treats (just try not to eat several in one sitting) or toppings on ice cream sundaes.

Wegmans Italian Classics Organic Pastas

Wegmans carries its own specialty in-house line of sauces, oils, pastas, and more called Italian Classics, which elevate your weeknight meals for only a few extra bucks. I always buy their bronze cut pastas—a fancy term for pastas that are pushed through a bronze die, giving them texture on the outside to better grip sauce. Once you try bronze cut, you’ll never go back. Wegmans Italian Classics pastas come in your standard shapes (linguine, spaghetti, and so on), but I like to try the new-to-me shapes like girelle and riccioli.

Wegmans Sushi

Does your grocery store host sushi festivals to recreate the experience of being at Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji fish market? Does it recruit staff from Japan who have worked at said Tokyo fish market? Wegmans does. Wegmans’ Market Café carries all kinds of prepared foods and meals for eating in and taking away—from pizzas and wings to the Sub Shop—but I always come back to the sushi. You’ll see trained sushi chefs behind the counter slicing fresh fish and making rolls throughout the day, and the offerings cater to everyone from purists to vegetarians.

Wegmans California Extra Virgin Olive Oil

After the news broke a few years ago that many extra virgin olive oils sold in the U.S. are rancid (and even a blend of other oils deceptively labeled as olive oil), I always look for certification seals, like that from the California Olive Oil Council. At $11.99 for nearly 34 ounces (compared to my other favorite trustworthy olive oil from California Olive Ranch, which retails at $13.99 for half that amount), this is a tremendous steal. I always stock up.

Wegmans Organic Basting Oil

Basting oil is one of those products you can only get at Wegmans. You probably just thought, What even is basting oil? Here, it’s a mix of sunflower oil (which has a high smoke point, making it perfect for sautéing and searing), dried garlic, and herbs that you can brush on everything—fish, meat, vegetables—before grilling or searing, kind of like a lazy marinade. It also works great mixed with vinegar as a salad dressing or even as a bread dip. It’s a true wonder product you didn’t know you needed.

Wegmans Rotisserie Chicken

Costco rotisserie chickens get a lot of love online, but Wegmans rotisserie chickens cost the same amount of money ($4.99) without the membership fee. (Wegmans also competes with Costco by offering a section of big box items in many of its stores.) Coming in plain, lemon pepper, and BBQ, they also beat out Costco in the flavor department. 

Wegmans Garlic and Herb Cheese Spread

No family gathering of mine can be without this cheese spread (a mix of cheese, mayo, spices, sour cream, and garlic) on crackers or baguette slices. Cold or warmed up, it’s strangely addicting.

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