Target expands its natural, organic selection

  • Article by: JOHN EWOLDT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 9, 2014 - 9:21 AM

The collection features more natural and organic products, which resonate with customers.

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Target expanded its array of organic and natural products with the addition of 17 new brands.

Photo: Patrick T. Fallon, Bloomberg

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Target Corp. said Tuesday that it will partner with 17 existing brands to expand its line of natural, organic and sustainable products.

The “Made to Matter — Hand-picked by Target” collection will feature about 120 products from brands as diverse as Burt’s Bees, Evol, Horizon Organic, Method, Seventh Generation and Kashi.

“Natural, organic and sustainable resonates with Target’s guests,” said Kathee Tesija, executive vice president of merchandising and supply chain. “We’re taking our 17 best natural and organic manufacturers, which are normally competitors with each other, and coming together as a team to take the guesswork out of buying better-for-you products.”

The product categories include the obvious — the grocery aisles — but also baby, personal care, health care and household departments. All will be mixed in with other products, not segregated, although some will featured on endcaps or highlighted with the green “Made to Matter” icon.

Many of the items will be brand or flavor extensions, but Target’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Jeff Jones, highlighted a Method air refresher in a compressed-air delivery system instead of an aerosol can and what is believed to be the first bleach-free, chlorine-free disposable cotton diaper from Seventh Generation.

“Target will be the only place to find them,” he said.

All of the items are exclusive to Target for at least six months. Jones stressed that the new releases are not considered temporary as with a fast-fashion Phillip Lim collection, for example. “This is not a limited, one-time offer,” he said.

Nearly half of Target’s guests say they prefer natural or organic products, said Tesija. Nationwide, 97 percent of households buy some products labeled natural or organic, she said.

Sales of products labeled natural and organic grew 7.5 percent in 2012, twice the overall growth rate of conventional food and nonfood products, according to the Organic Trade Association. Sales of nonfood products such as health and beauty and home products labeled natural or organic grew about 10 percent.

“Natural and organic is past the fad stage,” said Jim Hertel, managing partner at Willard Bishop grocery consulting firm. “What used to be a lifestyle for the best educated and highest incomes is now skewing younger, although it’s still an educated, above-average-income consumer.”

The so-called healthy foods are also more profitable, said Richard Feinberg, professor in the Department of Consumer Science at Purdue University. “Witness the profitability of Whole Foods,” he said. “It’s a significant profit share.”

A consumer may not be able to articulate what natural or organic means, or even be motivated to save the planet, but buying organic is usually about protecting the family. “They want fewer additives and ingredients they can’t pronounce,” said Hertel, “not only for themselves, but especially if they have kids.”

 

John Ewoldt • 612-673-7633

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