Target ups game on organic, sustainable products

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 8, 2014 at 5:10 pm •  Published: April 8, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — Target is upping the game on organic and sustainable products.

The nation's second-largest discounter has hand-selected 17 of the leading natural, organic and sustainable brands that already sell to its stores and has challenged them to come up with new products or new twists. As a result, an exclusive collection of more than 120 items like non-aerosol air freshener and bleach-free baby diapers have been hitting shelves since last month.

The products, which are being produced by such names as Chobani, Method and Seventh Generation, will range in price from $1.99 to $24.99, and will span across baby, beauty, grocery, health care and household items. Half of the products will be new, while the remaining will be extensions of an existing product line like a new scent or a new flavor.

The collection includes Method's non-aerosol air freshener that's powered by air, bleach-free cotton baby diapers from Seventh Generation, breakfast sandwiches from Evol Foods, and smoothies from Plum Organics. They will be exclusive to Target for at least six months, the retailer said.

The move comes as Target is enjoying strong sales in products that offer healthier alternatives for the consumer or for the environment. Target says that it has seen 15 percent sales growth in this area over the last few years, outpacing the industry's 10 percent pace. And sales of these products quadruple those of the company's non-organic and regular items. But Target's latest initiative pushes the brands to work together to make change and bring more innovation — at an affordable price.

The products will be featured in the usual aisles and as part of specialized collection displays that will highlight a new logo called "Made to Matter." The "Made to Matter" banner will also highlight all products currently offered by the participating brands. The partnership will be advertised on social media and on the web, culminating with a TV commercial this fall.

The "Made to Matter" initiative was conceived in early 2012, but it's taken on more importance as Target is still reeling from a massive security breach that occurred before Christmas. The discounter announced in February that its profit in the fourth quarter fell 46 percent on a revenue decline of 5.3 percent as the breach scared off customers worried about the security of their private data.