Target Welcomes Brands That 'Matter'

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Target Welcomes Brands That 'Matter'

By Patrycja Malinowska - 04/06/2015

Following a successful introductory year, Target is welcoming more brands to its “Made to Matter” platform, which showcases new sustainable, organic and natural products while also securing a little something extra for the mass merchant in the form of exclusive items.

To join the program, manufacturers have to agree to sell a new item or a variation of an existing item in a new flavor or scent exclusively at Target for six months. In 2014, Made to Matter corralled 16 brands – including Seventh Generation's flagship and Unilever’s Ben & Jerry – spanning the baby, beauty and personal care, grocery, health care and household product categories. In its second year, the program will nearly double in size to 31 brands by the end of 2015.

Some of the additions are familiar brands, while others are making their debut at a major retailer or are completely new to the market. The new products – priced from $1.25 to $49.99 and including a line of vitamins, a one-day juice cleanse, a fair-trade soccer ball and dog food – are from companies such as Askinosie Chocolate, Paddy’s Bathroom, Pacifica, Happy Family and Kind. A handful hit shelves in January and the rest will continue to roll out in April, July and September.

Among last year’s partners, 11 have returned for 2015. Those who are not coming back include:

  • Vita Coco, which made its first sports drink last year for the program but is going back to focus on its core product, coconut water.
  • Kellogg Co.'s Kashi, which made a new granola last year but this year is focusing on expanding the line of granola nationally.

Target projects Made to Matter sales will reach $1 billion in 2015, on par with its best-performing private labels. That figure includes a brand’s specific products in the program as well as the rest of the items the brand sells, which are expected to benefit from greater brand awareness. Manufacturers in the program saw a 30% sales lift for spotlighted items during 2014.

Brands in Made to Matter receive secondary merchandising space on endcaps outfitted with program signage that discusses the products and what they stand for, as well as digital and print support. For the first time this spring, Target will also showcase all the Made to Matter products together in the back-of-store seasonal department.

“We know our guests are looking for better-for-you and better-for-the-world products, and our research shows that they seek authenticity and transparency from the brands they buy,” chief merchandising and supply chain officer Kathee Tesija said in the retailer’s online magazine, A Bullseye View. “Made to Matter has proven to be incredibly successful, telling us that our guests love our approach, which is all about catering to their evolving wants and needs in a way only Target can do.”

The retailer is investing heavily in the wellness category to differentiate its brand and assortment from competition, and Made to Matter is an important part of that strategy both in terms of food and broader assortment.

“While overall sales in the natural and organic industry are growing rapidly, sales of these categories at Target are growing even faster, outpacing the industry by 50% in 2014,” Tesija said during the retailer’s fourth-quarter earnings call. “In 2014, sales of the brands featured in our Made to Matter collection grew twice as fast at Target than they did elsewhere in the market.”

Account-specific activity

Brands that don’t fit that niche are still finding plenty of ways to stand out at the retailer. Among manufacturers’ recent account-specific activity at Target:

  • General Mills’ Yoplait rolled out an exclusive “signature collection” of yogurts in packaging designed by Christopher Straub.
  • Nestle Purina introduced exclusive Purpose clumping litter, which boasts another fashionable packaging design. The product earned secondary merchandising on a dedicated endcap outfitted with a shelf blocker that let shoppers sniff the various scents Purpose offers.
  • Mills also recently provided the latest iteration in its longstanding annual partnership that stocks Target shelves with limited-edition, exclusive retro cereal packaging.
  • PepsiCo helped Target tap in to the excitement in advance of the National Football League’s Super Bowl with an exclusive incentive promising a free party tray designed to resemble a “snack stadium” with qualifying purchases.
  • For the holiday season, Coca-Cola Co. offered a free plush bear with qualifying purchases. The freebies were stocked on promotional shelf trays with qualifying SKUs.
  • Unilever’s Axe provided gift sets bundled with a 12-month subscription to Conde Nast’s GQ magazine. The SKUs were stocked on dedicated floorstands positioned in the men’s apparel department.
  • Big Heart Pet Brands’ Milk-Bone supplied dog treats in an exclusive holiday tin. The biscuits were stocked on an endcap alongside a supporting shelf blocker.
  • Hershey Co.’s peppermint-bark flavored Kisses were among a plethora of recent confectionary exclusives, many of which received endcap merchandising.
  • Starbucks Coffee Co.’s Tazo provided “full-leaf sachets” stocked on a dedicated endcap.

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