Target is testing a new approach to grocery to compete with chains like Wegmans and Whole Foods

Whole Foods meets Costco online

Target is trying new ways to compete with grocery rivals — including providing customers with radical transparency.

A new concept, currently being tested in Edina, Minnesota, allows customers to pay for certain produce, including strawberries and raspberries, based on how fresh they are, reports the Star Tribune.

SEE ALSO: Costco memberships are about to get more expensive

Items' arrival times are indicated on a sign over the produce, with a 50-cent price difference between fresher and older produce.

Customers can also weigh produce on futuristic 'smart scales,' which provide customers with information such as how many calories the fruit or vegetable has, if it is organic, and how it was produced.

The smart scales allow Target to see what information is most important to customers, at a time when Americans are increasingly interested in health nutrition.
ABV Food and Future coLab HeaderTarget

The test is a project from Food + Future coLab, a partnership with MIT's Media Lab and design firm Ideo, dedicated to "pushing the edges of technology, business, and design." Target recently launched another project from coLab in Boston called Good & Gather, which emphasizes ingredients by placing ingredients on the front of the label instead of the back.

Target is in the midst of a major overhaul of its grocery section. In March, the company announced it was cutting back on its middle-aisle dry packaged goods, and adding more fresh produce and organic and gluten-free products.

The retail chain began its revamp last year, with Target CEO Brian Cornell visiting rivals such as Wegmans and Trader Joe's for inspiration, reports the Wall Street Journal. The company decided to stand out from the competition by refocusing on seven major categories: meat, beer and wine, fruits and vegetables, coffee and tea, yogurt and granola, snacks, and candy.

The changes are already helping boost sales, with Target reporting that food sales in the last six months of 2015 outpaced overall sales. However, issues with the supply chain have caused some issues as the company works to add more fresh offerings.

fancy target storeTarget

"I said to my team this looks like Frankenstein. We have made this thing out of a bunch of parts," Target COO John Mulligan said last year in an interview with Reuters.

Target's food-centric rehaul comes at a time when the grocery business is growing increasingly crowded. Retail chains such as Walmart and traditional supermarkets like Kroger are modernizing by investing in the online and organic grocery business.

At the same time, discount chains such as Aldi and Trader Joe's are growing and expanding their organic offerings, forcing other chains to consider cutting prices. Whole Foods, for example, is launching a lower-cost chain called 365 to attract millennial customers.

RELATED: 5 things to never buy at Target

5 things to never buy at Target
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Target is testing a new approach to grocery to compete with chains like Wegmans and Whole Foods
1. TVs and electronics

If it’s not Black Friday, you can find better deals elsewhere, according to Ben’s Bargains. The website recommends visiting Best Buy or eBay instead.

That might be an issue for Target — last quarter, the company experienced a sales decline in the category, alleviated somewhat by the growth of wearable tech.

Via Business Insider

Photo: Getty

2. Mobile accessories

Items such as chargers or iPhone covers rarely go on sale at Target. Check out eBay or Amazon instead.

Via Business Insider

Photo: Getty

3. Shoes

Ben’s Bargains argues that Target’s flashier designs don’t justify the higher cost of footwear at Target than competitors like Macy’s or Walmart.

Still, investing in fashion has paid off so far for Target — the company’s women’s apparel category had some of the fastest sales growth at the company last quarter.

Via Business Insider

Photo: Shutterstock

4. Party and craft supplies

Target’s craft section is a relatively recent add-on — and not necessarily a bargain-friendly one. Look for Jo-Ann Fabric or Michaels coupons online, or just hit up the dollar store.

Via Business Insider

Photo: Getty

5. Gift cards

When it comes to gift cards, better deals can be found elsewhere. Ben’s Bargains recommends eBay or gift card resellers like Raise, and Costco also has some excellent discount deals of its own.

Via Business Insider

Photo: Getty


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