Published 10:23 PM EDT Sep 14, 2019
Target stores are beginning to sell eggs, milk and even beet hummus and avocado toast salad under a new label that will become its flagship food brand.
Starting Sept. 15, all 1,800-plus locations across the country will stock the first products of the Good & Gather food and beverage brand, the Minneapolis-based retailer shared exclusively with USA TODAY.
By the end of 2020, the brand will include more than 2,000 products and will be Target’s largest store brand launch, said Stephanie Lundquist, a Target executive vice president and president of food and beverage. The move is part of the company’s business strategy to increase sales and distinguish the retailer from its rivals.
“Our guests are incredibly busy and want great-tasting food they can feel good about feeding their families,” Lundquist said. “We really wanted the brand to represent the quality and the value that guests can expect.”
The products are made without artificial flavors and sweeteners, synthetic colors and high-fructose corn syrup and carry a money-back guarantee, also called the Good & Gather promise: “Love every bite or your money back.”
“It’s really about making sure the ingredients are whole so it’s easy (for consumers) to know what they’re buying,” Lundquist said.
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What is Good & Gather?
The first 650 Good & Gather products will be available at stores nationwide and at Target.com starting Sept. 15. They include: bagged salads, cheese, granola, sparkling water, deli fresh entrees and sides, fruit squeezers, frozen fruit, fresh vegetables, chips and nutrition bars.
Another 1,000 products will be added in the spring and another 1,000 by the end of next year. The products all have a “g” logo. There are four lines within the brand: kids, organic, seasonal and signature.
Other changes are coming with the launch.
Target is phasing out the Archer Farms and Simply Balanced food brands, Lundquist said, and also will reduce the number of products under the Market Pantry brand, which is the store’s largest food brand.
Archer Farms debuted as Target’s first food private brand in 1995; Market Pantry launched in 2001; and Simply Balanced, a store brand without artificial flavors, colors and preservatives, came in 2013.
This is more than a switch of a label, though.
“We are not going to take away those products our guests love until we have an even better solution under the Good & Gather brand,” Lundquist said.
Lundquist said the brand has been in the works for about two years. Target has added more food scientists to develop it and reformulate products to meet Good & Gather’s ingredient standards.
“We know that one of our greatest strengths as a company is that we’re a one-stop shop for our guests,” Lundquist said.
The rise of the store brand
Target announced it would add more store-owned brands in 2017 as a way to bring higher profitability and differentiate from the competition. Other recent launches from the retailer include Everspring, Auden, Colsie and Cloud Island Essentials. .
But Target isn’t alone in creating brands and products.
Eighty-one percent of grocers said they increased private label sales, which make up 29% of sales in the grocery segment, according to the 2019 Grocery Tech Trends Study produced by Retail Info System and Progressive Grocer.
Shoppers’ appetite for store brands also is growing as quality has improved in recent years, said Lawrence Aylward, editor-in-chief of Store Brands magazine.
“We’re really seeing a golden age of store brands,” Aylward said, adding that 98% of grocery retailers carry the same national brand products.
More than half of consumers said they shop at a store specifically for its private brand, according to an April report by Stamford, Connecticut-based retail consulting firm Daymon.
Daymon also found that 85% of consumers trust private brands as much as national brands with 81% buying private brands on every or almost every shopping trip.
Aylward considers Trader Joe’s, Aldi and Kroger to be some of the grocery leaders for private brands and expects more brands to be launched.
“The competition is so fierce that they’re realizing more and more that their way to differentiate and be exclusive is to come up with a powerful store brand program that consumers can’t get anywhere else,” Aylward said. “It’s not just about low price; it’s about value.”
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Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko