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Target Doubles Down on Healthy, Eco-Friendly Products

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A Target store frontPhotograph by Lucas Oleniuk Toronto Star — Getty Images

In Year Three of its “Made to Matter” product collection, Target (TGT) is redoubling its focus on selling environmentally friendly and healthy items as it seeks to stand out from other general retailers.

In 2014, Target launched “Made to Matter,” a group of 100 products placed together in a prominent part of the store, to highlight exclusive, good-for-you products from primarily emerging brands that are also environmentally sustainable, organic, and natural. Target wanted to burnish its reputation as the go-to store for healthier options and cater to customers who makes those considerations a priority.

This year, the cohort includes products like Yes To facial wipes, which uses recycled material in its packaging, and Babyganics’ natural wool dryer balls that are free of toxic chemicals. Other products focus on things like allergen restrictions (pockets by General Mills’ (GIS) Annie’s, made with golden pea butter, rather than peanut butter) and reduced sugar, like Ripple’s plant-based milk. In all, the Made to Matter’s 100 products come from 20 different brands.

Made to Matter logo

In and of itself, Made to Matter barely moves the needle for Target: last year, the brands showcased (and not just the specific products) collectively had sales of $1 billion; that’s a drop in the bucket for a retailer that had $73 billion in sales last year, though it’s on par with sales from some of Target’s larger house brands.

Nevertheless, Made to Matter is key to helping Target brand itself as a destination for wellness, one of the four priority areas CEO Brian Cornell has said he wants to company to excel at. Wellness, along with style (home goods and apparel) and kids and baby products, collectively saw comparable sales rise three times faster than the company overage during the holiday quarter. The Made to Matter effort also dovetails with other goals at Target, ranging from improving its fresh food assortment to a partnership with SoulCycle.

“When you take all of those things collectively, that’s what helps to share the understanding that Target is committed to wellness,” Target Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Jones told Fortune in an interview. And offering a point of differentiation is key as everyone—from CVS Health (CVS) to Walmart (WMT), among others—is making wellness a top priority.



This year, though, Target has narrowed down the Made to Matter collection’s offerings. Last year, Made to Matter included 200 items from 30 brands, but Jones said that was too much and diluted the impact of the program. Some 13 brands that were in Made to Matter last year are back, including Annie’s Homegrown, Ella’s Kitchen, and Plum Organics. Almost half the lineup will be on Target shelves this spring, a roll-out that will be completed by September.

The brands in the current lineup had to meet one of five criteria: reduced waste or packaging, closed loop systems, clean label, dietary/allergen restrictions, and reduced sugar.

“This helps us tell the story about differentiation, that we have always been a brand that helped bring things to the masses first,” says Jones.