Over the last few years, Minneapolis based Target has dramatically reinvented its private brand portfolio, adding dozens of brands to its portfolio – Cat & jack, Pillowfort, A New Day, Project 62, GoodFellow & Co. The vast majority of these increased the size and relevance of the private brand portfolio, however, Target has never been afraid to make dramatic changes or kill gigantic billion-dollar brands in favor of a new strategy. In 2016, the retailer dramatically rethought its children’s categories with the billion dollar+ private brand and the creation of Cat & Jack in fashion which was followed by Pillowfort in home and Cloud Island in baby.

The once gigantic Up&Up which itself replaced Bullseye branded products has gradually been whittled away with the introduction of Smartly in low-priced personal care and cleaning essentials, Everspring in natural cleaning and the expansion of Cloud Island into diapers, wipes, and toiletries. It seems like obvious speculation to assume that the folks in Minneapolis may be working on new consumer-focused brands for the remaining Health & Beauty products in Up&Up.

So, it was no surprise today to see the latest announcement from Target. The launch of Good & Gather in grocery: 650 products start rolling into Target September 15, with all 2,000-plus items available by late next year. The idea behind Good & Gather is great food—from dairy and produce to ready-made pastas, meats and more—made for real life. It’s all the good stuff you customer’s without artificial flavors, synthetic colors, artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup. Plus, there are plenty of everyday staples like milk, eggs and other favorites that never have those ingredients anyway.

However, the move is bigger than that. Buried in the last paragraph of the press release is this statement, “It will ultimately become our “flagship” (read: largest and most prominent) owned food brand, and will include kids, organic, seasonal and premium product lines. Along the way, we’ll make the shopping experience even easier and streamlined by phasing out our Archer Farms and Simply Balanced brands and reducing our Market Pantry line. But don’t worry—we’ll bring most of those favorites into Good & Gather, reformulating many of them with even better ingredients and taste.”

That’s right Target is dramatically reinventing its private brand portfolio in grocery, killing successful brands Archer Farms and Simply Balanced and moving much of Market Pantry into the new brand. It’s a fearless and refreshing move designed to dramatically change how they are perceived in grocery.

The press release goes on:

Stephanie Lundquist, executive vice president, Food & Beverage, Target

“Our guests are incredibly busy and want great-tasting food they can feel good about feeding their families,” says Stephanie Lundquist, executive vice president, Food & Beverage, Target. “We saw this as a huge opportunity for Target to help. So our team got to work on our most ambitious food undertaking yet, reimagining our owned food brands to serve up convenient, affordable options that do not cut corners on quality or taste. Good & Gather is our way of helping even the most time-strapped families discover the everyday joy of food.”

Crushing the taste test
Creating an exceptional food brand is no small feat. There’s guest and trend research, food safety, recipe formulations, sourcing, packaging and so much more to carefully consider. But through the entire process, we knew we’d need to absolutely nail great taste—it’s our guests’ top priority. So our food scientists and culinary experts whipped up some truly special creations, from an avocado toast salad kit and beet hummus to heat-and-serve roasted poblano mac and cheese and everything in-between (yep, it’s all developed and tested right in our own Target test kitchen). And here’s the kicker: every single recipe has to pass a rigorous taste test, or it doesn’t make the cut. Our expectations are so high, in fact, that Good & Gather comes with our money-back guarantee. Even the packaging conveys real, delicious food. And better yet, it’s all an incredible value.

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