How To: Shop Organic On a Budget  At Target

    [fa icon="user"] Julia Condon [fa icon="folder-open'] Budget Friendly, Tea, Mind the Store, Household, Shopping, Organic, Food, Vegetables

    Target: a bullseye for the health-conscious shopper

    When you think of shopping for healthy food products, what store first comes to mind? Whole Foods, maybe, Trader Joe’s perhaps… Did Target fall anywhere on your mental list? Well, it should.

    Between 2012 and 2015, Target upped their range of organic options by 114%, displaying a massive desire to adapt to the wishes of the modern, health-minded, savvy consumer, as shared in their 2015 Corporate Social Responsibility Report. They offer a private-label healthy product brand – Simply Balanced – to meet the needs of their customers. Furthermore, Target has made it a goal of theirs to expand their sustainable seafood options and “clean label” products – ones that list the contents to make consumers aware of some potentially harmful chemicals inside, allowing them to make a more conscious choice of product.12802976_1263724500309078_8200494448670860082_n-113775-edited.jpg

    This is all obviously great news. But what does it mean for the consumer trying to balance their budget and eat Savvy at the same time? I did some investigative journalism – disguised as a regular Target shopper of course – to see for myself if Target’s Simply Balanced selection satisfied my palate and my wallet.

    Satisfy the Wallet 

    First stop: the endcaps

    Discount shelves at the back end of aisles are suitably named “end caps” and are a saving grace for a mindful consumer on a budget. The end caps are always worth checking first as you circle the store– you could find something on your shopping list at a discounted price! I discovered castile soap, organic teas, chocolates, snack items and more marked with little orange stickers displaying rock bottom clearance prices.

    There’s an app for that

    Saving on Simply Balanced and other Target products can be as easy as clicking a button – seriously! Target’s Cartwheel app – free on the Apple app store – allows you to find discounted items by searching for them by product name, brand (like Simply Balanced) or even “organic.” Discounts typically range anywhere from 25% to 5%.  Even if you are not planning to shop in Target’s grocery aisle, the Cartwheel app is an easy way to save on any Target products across the store effortlessly.

    Even more savings!

    • Consumers can save an additional 5% off of the total purchase using the Target Red Card.
    • Target shoppers can find, print and collect Target coupons for organic products before shopping.  
    • Bonus: Join the Team! Target Team Members receive a 20% discount off of all fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables from Simply Balanced! How’s that for an incentive to eat healthier?

    Simply Balanced

    As previously mentioned, Target has responded to consumers’ call for healthier food options by introducing their Simply Balanced product line which offers healthier, and almost entirely organic options to consumers. Amongst the traditional brand offerings you can find in any regular old grocery store, Simply Balanced stands out.

    The most obvious first point is the difference in price between Simply Balanced products and other brands. Simply Balanced as an affordable option for families and individuals who typically associate the word “organic” with the word “expensive.”

    Satisfy the Palate

    Making it Fun: Taste Tests

    Simply Balanced can also be distinguished from its competition by taste. To test Simply Balanced products alongside leading brand names, I conducted a blind taste test using a small focus group of volunteers (my grandma, cousin, brother and sister).

    (The following should be read in your best sports announcer voice you can manage)

    Round 1: Simply Balanced traditional hummus, the underdog, retailed at $2.99 and discounted to $2.49 using the Cartwheel app versus Sabra classic hummus, a fan favorite, sold for $3.49!

    Besides being an entire dollar cheaper than its competition, my taste testers loved the strong flavor of tahini that prevailed in the Simply Balanced hummus, and its smooth texture.

    Round 2: Simply Balanced goes up against the prevailing champion once again. On one side of the ring we have Simply Balanced honey almond granola, a newcomer trying to make a name for itself in the world of organic breakfast food, valued at $3.12 and discounted to $2.99 using the Cartwheel app versus Bear Naked honey almond granola, the reigning champ, priced at $3.49.

    Though Bear Naked’s granola has always been a family favorite, my taste testers agreed that they could definitely see themselves enjoying a bowl of yogurt topped with Simply Balanced granola and some fresh strawberry slices for breakfast – delicious!

    Round 3: Both valued at $2.99, Simply Balanced organic apple juice is pretty evenly matched with Apple & Eve’s organic apple juice. It’s looking to be a fair fight.

    My taste testers couldn’t find much difference between Simply Balanced and Apple & Eve’s rendition of apple juice, but enjoyed the flavors of both.

    After three rounds of competition and careful deliberation from my four judges, I believe there appeared a clear winner: Simply Balanced! With low prices and a flavor everyone could enjoy, it was hardly a close competition. In total, I saved $1.50 on the three products by purchasing Simply Balanced items instead of similar name brand products.

    Still a skeptic? Conduct your own taste test! Use the Cartwheel app to save a little bit of money and have your kids try a glass of Simply Balanced apple juice.

    Don’t even tell them that what they’re eating is good for them, it’s so tasty they’ll never know.

    But is it perfect?

    This article presents some ideas about how to make going organic on a budget easier for the conscious consumer. Is Target perfect? No. Simply Balanced is still not 100% organic. There are more steps to be taken in the right direction. But I applaud them for using their power as a large corporate company to make a positive impact. They are taking extensive steps to be sustainable, affordable, and accessible.

    Savvy supports the continued pressure from the Mind the Store Campaign to hold US retailers accountable for the chemicals in consumer products, and pushing for the end of the use of over 100 hazardous chemicals.

    Every time you shop organic, or choose a better-for-you item over another, you are part of this larger process. You are leading the way. You are telling the retailer what you want with every purchase. And they are listening.


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    (Disclaimer: I was not paid by Target for any of the above content, nor did I receive any goods for free. I embarked on their journey to learn for myself and share what I learned.)

    Julia Condon

    Written by Julia Condon

    Julia is a Bostonite through and through who enjoys yoga, cooking vegetarian meals, and being outside (yes, even in the freezing New England winters). She spends most of her time at the keyboard whether she's blogging for Savvy or drafting then deleting the next Great American Novel in a never ending cycle.

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