The Real Reason Wegmans Produce Is So Fresh

It's no secret that Wegmans is a fan favorite among grocery shoppers who are fortunate enough to live near one of its 101 East Coast locations (via Wegmans). Known for its astonishing size — at 80,000 to 120,000 square feet per store — the average Wegmans is much larger than other supermarkets (via The Atlantic). In fact, each building is close to the equivalent of eight to ten smaller grocery stores, with Wegmans' produce department alone accounting for double the volume of its average competitors' entire storefronts (via The Washington Post).

Wegmans' produce is the talk of the town. The grocery chain has built a reputation around its super-fresh and abundant displays of fruits and vegetables. A 2019 Consumer Reports poll placed Wegmans near the top of their 96-store analysis for both produce selection and quality. Food & Wine revels in Wegmans' impressive assemblage of both organic and conventional produce at good prices. With a store this scale, variety is no surprise. How else could Wegmans fill up all that shelf space with an enticing array of products? The shock comes with just how fresh the produce is.

Store size is Wegmans' secret for success

The secret to stocking the freshest of the fresh comes back to volume. Wegmans bet on their behemoth size as a draw for shoppers, and more shoppers means more produce sales. Their gamble paid off in a big way. Produce never sits on a Wegmans shelf very long. The store goes through its produce at a rate of 100 times per year. This is a much higher refresh rate than the competition. Other supermarkets pale in comparison at just 18 to 20 times annually.

"That's why their produce is almost always fresher than their competition's," Burt Flickinger, the managing director of Strategic Resource Group (a consulting firm with a close eye on the supermarket industry for over 35 years), told The Washington Post. Their strategy allows them to compete against Whole Foods, prized for freshness; Trader Joe's, which is revered for low prices; and Walmart, the big kid on the block.

Wegmans also has a strong commitment to local produce, which travels less distance from farm to shelf. Flickinger said to Consumer Reports, "They're the leaders working with hydroponic, natural and organic greenhouse produce growers... Whether the temperature is 92 degrees or 9 degrees below zero, their produce is typically local" (via Produce Retailer).