• Jacobs Communications

Target grows green and debuts clean icon for essentials and personal care

Last month, Target announced their new clean icon for essential and personal care products – a new visual that represents products formulated without a group of commonly unwanted chemicals.

The label is dedicated to driving transparency regarding product formulations and mark the ones that are without the likes of phthalates, parabens and formaldehyde.

By 2020, the plan is to formulate products that no longer include those chemicals on its priority list, and to label everything clearly. Meanwhile, the mid-step to highlight the company’s ongoing mission is to clean up their existing products, starting with the label. Tackling the constituents of its priority list is next in line. They have also committed to investing up to 5 million in green chemistry innovation by 2022.

Organic and clean practices are going into more than food, to soap, clothes, perfume, beauty and more. Target’s latest initiative comes off the back of a bigger trend to shop more sustainably – better quality products, organic, locally-sourced, in season, cruelty-free, to name a few. More and more we see people looking not only for good products, but to feel good about what they purchase, and that applies to every sector.

Along with transparency, the new measure aims to simplify shopping and save customers valuable time in their search for better products. People want to be making informed decisions for their families and the planet, and labels help make these fast. If you know what the label represents or what a product certainly does not include, then you can cut down all the time wasted on reading extensive lists of ingredients and nutritional facts, as well as research trying to figure those out one by one. This is particularly practical because even though we have easy access to several information sources, it doesn’t mean these necessarily provide the most reliable answers, nor do we have the background, knowledge or expertise to tell trustworthy and untrustworthy apart. In times of prevailing lack of trust, Target is also betting they have built enough trust with their customers that the icon can be shorthand for better and safe products.

Senior Vice President and General Merchandise Manager of essentials, beauty, hardlines and services, Christina Hennington, said “ Our guests are increasingly interested in better-for-you products, and by introducing Target Clean, we’re able to help them identify products that meet their needs and save time.” It’s a tremendous convenience and value proposition to their customers, as well as a step further towards building stronger customer relationships.

Target is innovating across their assortment and business, and in the larger retail landscape. No other large retailer is doing this, or anything similar – perhaps only a few specialty retailers. Director of activist coalition Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families' “Mind the Store” campaign, said Target’s policies “up the ante” among retailers and said that “laggards like Amazon, Costco, Kroger and Albertsons clearly need to catch up.”

The food sector has undergone similar uncovering and today most products indicate the main allergens or dietary requirements – gluten, dairy, vegan, egg, soy, nuts, and so on. We have all witnessed how rapidly change has happened in the food industry. Target is at the forefront in the next chapter.

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