Wegmans to Bow New Trans-Fat-Free Products 'Soon'

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Wegmans Food Markets here is planning to offer more items without trans fats, according to an online column by the company's v.p. of consumer affairs, Mary Ellen Burris, who said that such products can be expected in stores "soon."

"We're working on the removal aggressively and making progress," said Burris, adding that in 2007 all packaged bakery cookies will contain zero grams of trans fat per serving, and at an unspecified future time in the near future Wegmans brand products such as W-O's cookies, refrigerated puddings, and animal crackers will feature no trans fats.

The grocer has a long history of improving the nutritional profile of its offerings: In 1992 Food You Feel Good About breads from Wegmans' Central Bakeshop began using liquid soybean oil, in_2003 the retailer removed partially hydrogenated oils from all Food You Feel Good About products; and in 2004 all fryers in Wegmans' Prepared Foods, Wokery, and Pizza departments were changed over to liquid soybean oil.

"Taking out trans fat isn't easy," noted Burris. "A trans-fat-free food isn't automatically better for you; it depends on what the trans fat is replaced with. A replacement high in saturated fat (lard, butter, or tropical oils) isn't the answer. Our bakery tested a ton of dough, trying to find a solid fat that reduces trans fat without increasing saturated fat. The good news is that the newer substitute fats are better now than they were a couple years ago, as suppliers develop products to meet the challenge."
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