Forget Wal-Mart? Target Will Be The Real Mass Market Organic Powerhouse

Of course forgetting Wal-Mart is like forgetting global warming.  It can’t be done.  Unless you’re dead. But here’s the point.  While Wal-Mart will be a major force in any market it enters, its ability to reach natural and organic consumers is limited.  They don’t like shopping there and when these folks do, they are often embarrassed to admit it.

Target on the other hand, is getting downright trendy. Even Barney’s loves Target, something  Women’s Wear Daily called “one of the oddest pairings in recent fashion history.” So even though its not surprising that Target, the store for affordable luxury and style is now moving to the grocery aisle, nobody is paying attention.

Target has an aggressive plan to expand its SuperStores (those with grocery) and you can bet your honey-sweetened organic corn flake loving heart, that more and more hybrid driving eco-moms are going to be cramming Target’s parking lot, loading up the car with groceries.

Every time we head to Target we’re seeing things that surprise us.  Clif Bar six-packs for under $6, Chocolove bars on sale at 3 for $5 bucks (Whole Foods had a sale the same week at 2 for $4);  Seventh Generation, Amy’s Kitchen, Nature’s Path, Kashi and more all at low, low prices.  More importantly, we’re seeing more and more organic selections from their previously unfocused store brand, Archer Farms . This line now includes organic soy milk, cow milk, lots of juices, whole bean fair traded coffee, natural cookies and chips all of which point to Target’s future as a Trader Joe’s like alternative to Whole Foods.

Furthermore we’ve learned Target will be adding a large selection of natural personal care to their stores this year. Previous efforts integrating natural body care into their stores failed.  The key difference is this time they’ll be working with leading natural vendors, letting them ‘teach’ Target what’s different about selling natural and organic body care.

Similarly, Target is bringing in leading natural food manufacturers to create effective category management for natural and organic grocery. This, of course, is the opposite way supermarkets do business.  There it’s pay for play, the reason why most supermarkets are about as exciting as sleep apnea.

Smart retailers should be worried about Target.  It has always attracted value minded shoppers; now it is gaining more and more social-value minder shoppers, too.

In the meantime we’re heading downstairs to the break room to brew some single-origin, organically grown, fair trade coffee, from Target’s store brand, Archer Farms. Things aren’t what they used to be.


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