How Target Is Promising To Help 14 Small Food And Drink Brands Grow

Have you shopped at Target lately? While the store is perhaps more well known for its clothing, home goods, and cleaning supplies selections, many customers enjoy the chain's array of foods and drinks. Whereas Target's food and drink aisles were once fairly limited to items such as chips, bread, and soda, customer response to its competitively priced groceries throughout the span of the pandemic has led the chain to vastly expand its food and drink offerings. In September of 2020, CNBC reported that the chain added hundreds of new items to its in-house grocery line Good & Gather, including jarred pasta sauces, frozen pizzas, dried pasta, plant-based meat patties, and more.

It seems that Target's tactic to attract more shoppers to its grocery aisles — where they spend twice as much, on average, as they do on trips when they don't buy groceries (via CNBC) — is working. The chain's latest sales numbers demonstrate that food and drink have become steady earners, with sales increasing by almost $1.8 billion over the past few years (via Food Business News). So it makes sense that Target is continuing to look for opportunities to further its involvement in the grocery sector, with the chain recently announcing that it will mentor and collaborate with 14 recently established food and beverage brands through its Target Forward Founders accelerator program.

Target will help steer these young grocery brands towards success

In its third annual Target Forward Founders accelerator program, the retailer will aid 14 newly fledged food and beverage brands, which the chain selected out of thousands of entries. Food Business News recently reported the retailer's announcement, linking to a LinkedIn post by Dana Paltao of the chain's accelerator program. "The next 8 weeks will include unmatched mentorship, collaborative cohorts, and comprehensive coursework for these brands," Paltao wrote on LinkedIn. "I can't wait to see how the Target Forward Founders program helps them and their companies grow!​"

The selected brands include 50Hertz, which manufactures dried Sichuan peppercorns; alternative OATS, which makes ready-to-eat packets of oatmeal in flavors such as banana bread; and Carolyn's Krisps, crispy vegan cookies in flavors including maple pecan and cinnamon (via Target Accelerators). Other brands selected include makers of plantain chips; spicy honey; and gourmet bar snacks made to pair with craft beer, wine, and cocktails.

The founder of that latter brand, SIPPIN SNAX, told Food Business News that she's thrilled to be among the 14 companies taken under Target's wing. "We are very humbled and excited about our selection to the Target Forward Founders cohort," Melissa Wallace told the outlet. "Having been a pivot from the food and beverage crash of the pandemic, it really gives us validation and will help us create a strong foundation for building a competitive national brand. It will enable us to punch way above our current weight."