Target is evolving, getting healthier
Target used to be the store where you were immediately assaulted with the smell of buttery popcorn as you entered the doors; you could pick up a bag at their cafe and nosh on it while you shopped for new (perhaps bigger) pants and groceries for the week. Target has been making changes, however, as the discount chain has responded to the country’s growing wellness focus. Many of their cafes have replaced that familiar popcorn and other junk food (hot dogs and nachos) with artisan pizzas, salads, and cold-pressed juices. Target’s checkout lines are also going to look different soon: the last-minute impulse purchases, candy bars and chips, will be joined by granola bars and other healthy grab-and-go snacks.
Target is not just focusing on customers in this new health kick, they are also promoting wellness to their employees–the store recently partnered with Fitbit to provide more than 300,000 employees with basic fitness trackers called the Fitbit Zip. Target says it will not monitor data from the devices and will not force employees to use them, but employees will have the choice to participate in teams in a month long challenge. The winning team will get $1 million to funnel into a charity of their choice. According to Jodee Kozlak, Target’s chief human resources officer, the store will also give employees extra discounts on fruits and vegetables.
It’s also about their bottom line
While this wellness kick will contribute to the health of Target’s customers and employees, it will also help Target’s bottom line. It’s beneficial to Target, as employers who offer insurance to their workers, to improve employee health, in order to fight steadily rising insurance costs. And consumers, who have been learning about healthy eating habits, are placing more of an emphasis on living longer, and their interests are leaning toward organic, health-conscious products. Health foods offer higher profit margins to retailers like Target; providing them can both draw new customers and keep existing ones.
In addition to a broader variety and greater availability of health foods, Target’s customers will still have access to packaged junk food. In tests in 30 stores, the chain is trying to get the balance right, so that its health kick isn’t too pushy. Their placement might be shuffled a bit, but the candy and chips will still be there. That aromatic cafe popcorn, however, could already be on its way out.