Is Target the New Whole Foods Market?

Target Simply Balanced Brand

photo: AP

Two interesting pieces of news from Target Superstores this week:

1. A new organic and natural line of store brand food items is being introduced this month. The Simply Balanced line will include organic and “all natural” foods. About 250 items, from granola to snacks to juice, are coming in under this umbrella, intended to capture the attention of health conscious shoppers.

2. Target has announced that it will not sell genetically modified salmon in its stores.

These developments were not something one would expect to hear from a low cost retailer just 5 years ago. But in a sign that the times are changing, even low cost retailers need to position themselves as health minded.

According to Target,

“approximately 40 percent of the Simply Balanced products are USDA certified organic, and the vast majority of products are made without genetically modified organisms (GMOs). As part of Target’s commitment to wellness, the Simply Balanced collection will eliminate all GMO ingredients by the end of 2014 and Target has set a goal to increase organic food offerings by 25 percent by end of fiscal year 2017.”

This is no altruistic move. Target’s marketing department is seeing the growth in organic food sales, growing at twice the pace of any other food category, and obviously wants a piece of that action.

Watch out Whole Foods Market? Not quite yet, but it’s encouraging to see more and more retailers offering these choices. It creates a ripple effect both horizontally in the supermarket industry as well as down the supply chain, encouraging more farmers to invest in returning their lands to organic practices and sustainable agriculture.

  • Jen

    It’s more misleading advertising. “All natural?” What real meaning does that have? None. Only 40% of the line is organic, yet they market it as if it ALL is. They are muddying the waters and confusing consumers.

    • Fooducate

      They don’t market it all as organic. Granted there is confusion around “natural”, but still it is a step in the right direction. Would you rather that Target shoppers not have ANY healthy choices?

  • Spins

    Not misleading or confusing at all… Read the target press release- they are quite clear in their goals. Good for Target!

    • Anne Noise

      If you have to read a press release to understand food packaging, there might be a communication issue with the packaging.

  • jen

    It’s a step in the right direction and a welcome change for some of us that have no access to whole foods or trader Joe stores.

  • Alyssa B

    It’s good to hear that the demand for these types of foods is increasing and that retailers are listening!

  • Carrie @ Carrieonvegan

    Yay! I think the addition of organic products is a step in the right direction.

  • Sophia Antillon

    It’s a definite step in the right direction. I think it’s great I can pick up food products I enjoy when shopping @ Target.

  • Dianne

    Hooray for Target! And as with everything, you still have to read the ingredients to be sure it is what it says it is!

  • Ken

    USDA Certified Organic still allows for some pesticides. This is a step in the right direction (especially with regard to GMOs), however. Hopefully most retailers will eventually ensure CNG (Certified Naturally Grown) which means that the growing process is completely natural; no pesticides are used at all in the growing process.

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