At Target, Noosa Hits the Bullseye

Carol Ortenberg

For many natural food companies exhibiting at this year’s Natural Products Expo West, having a Whole Foods Market buyer stop by the booth was the equivalent of getting a favorite rock star to listen to a demo tape. An exciting moment that could possibly change your life forever.

But while Whole Foods remains prestigious, other grocery and big box stores are making a play to line their shelves with entrepreneurial, innovative food brands.

Target is one of those retailers. From focusing on local products, to changing how they source new items, to doubling down on organic and “wellness” products, Target has made grocery its key focus.

Although grocery already represents $18.5 billion in sales for the retailer, that’s not enough. At Target’s Financial Community Meeting earlier in March, Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell the company would be going back to “food fundamentals” such as making sure to have fewer out of stocks, and “dramatically improving freshness across the segment” to improve sales.

For Target — as for its competition — this growth also means changing the mix of grocery items and focusing on providing more perishables.

“Looking across categories, we found out our market share was out of balance. We were strongest in the categories with the least growth potential,” Cornell said. “Too much of our assortment is in the center of the store while the true growth opportunities exist around the perimeter.”

One of the brands that has already seen the potential power of Target’s perimeter is the yogurt brand Noosa. In 2012, just two years after launching, Target approached Noosa about testing in its SuperTarget stores. Within four months, the brand went national with the retailer.

In the following video Noosa Co-Founder Koel Thomae talks about the company’s history, the relationship with Target, and what’s next for the yogurt brand.

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