Natural Foods Merchandiser

Target hitches to organic bandwagon

Keeping in step with growing demand for organic products and competition from newly organic-friendly Wal-Mart, Target is launching a private label organics line. Target's Archer Farms organic collection will include a variety of items, from ready-made pizzas and dinners to dairy products and juices. The company plans to introduce new products in the line on a regular basis, according to a news release.

Additionally, the produce departments at all SuperTargets, 140 nationwide, are now certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, though the USDA does not require retail food establishments that sell organic produce to be certified.

Holly Givens, public affairs adviser for the Organic Trade Association, lauded the company for taking the step above and beyond what is required by the USDA to certify their produce departments. Givens said it's unclear what effect on prices Target's entrance into the organic scene might have, but she's glad to see Target enter the market. "It's good to have [organic products] more available," Givens said. "It increases the likelihood that shoppers will choose them." And that means, over the long run, an increase in organically farmed acres, she said, which is better for the environment—which is better for everyone.

Target, which has 1,443 stores in 47 states, conducted a survey with Harris Interactive, finding that one-third of the surveyed consumers believe organic foods are superior, but almost two-thirds want to be better informed on their value and when it pays to buy organic.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVII/number 11/p. 9

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