Ever walk into Target needing toothpaste and leave with a cart full of stuff? This familiar scenario is called the “Target effect” and it’s a real thing.
Target is beefing up its fledgling Good & Gather food and beverage brand with 600 new items including premium frozen wood-fired crust pizzas, meatless burgers, jalapeno avocado hummus and honey vanilla butter.
The expansion of its flagship in-store brand comes a year after its launch and it includes a signature line of pasta and sauces imported from Italy, and a selection of organic coffee, the Minneapolis-based retailer shared exclusively with USA TODAY.
“Food and beverage continue to play a very important role in the Target experience,” said Stephanie Lundquist, a company executive vice president and president of food and beverage. “Families right now, more than ever, are looking for a little inspiration and the ability to create some delicious dishes at home.”
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With the new products being added to store shelves across the country through early October, the brand will have nearly 2,000 products and be Target’s largest store-owned brand by number of items, Lundquist said. It has generated more than $1 billion in sales and is expected to be a multi-billion dollar brand.
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The products are made without artificial flavors and sweeteners, synthetic colors and high-fructose corn syrup and carry a money-back guarantee called the Good & Gather promise: “Love every bite or your money back.”
The first 650 products that included avocado toast salad, ready-made pastas and dairy were released in September 2019 and 600 more were added this spring during the coronavirus pandemic.
Some of the brand’s most popular products have included strawberry mango sparkling water and avocado toast salad, Lundquist said, adding Himalayan Salted Dark Chocolate Almonds are one of her favorite items.
She expects the new frozen pizzas, which are hand-stretched, to be popular, too.
“A couple of the really fun favorites are the spinach and goat cheese or the wood-fired pepperoni and spicy honey drizzle,” Lundquist said.
With Good & Gather, Target has been phasing out the Archer Farms and Simply Balanced food brands. The retailer has reduced the number of products under the Market Pantry brand, which previously was the store’s largest food brand.
Target announced in 2017 that it would add more store-owned brands as a way to bring higher profitability and differentiate from the competition.
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Target CEO Brian Cornell spoke of the planned expansion of the third and final phase of the brand during the company’s quarterly earnings call with analysts in August.
“The Good & Gather brand is clearly resonating with our guests and delivering on our Food & Beverage vision, to enhance the Target experience by making it easy for families to discover the joy of food,” Cornell said. “With the momentum from this new brand, our own brand Food & Beverage business has been growing more than 30% so far this year, significantly outpacing the market and growing market share.”
Target reported its strongest quarter in August with record growth in digital sales including its same-day services. Drive Up curbside pickup grew an “astonishing 730%” over the same quarter in 2019, Cornell said. Target expanded its same-day pickup service by adding fresh and frozen grocery items to 1,500 stores this summer.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko
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