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All Contents © 2020The Kiplinger Washington Editors
By Bob Niedt, Online Editor
| November 6, 2019
If you shop for groceries at Target, you’ve no doubt noticed the rapid rollout of Good & Gather, the retailer’s newest line of store-brand products. Get used to it. Target expects to have some 2,000 private-label grocery items under that banner by the end of the year, ranging from organic produce and quick meals to snacks and drinks.
Store brands are big business. Supermarkets saw $75 billion in private-label sales in 2018, a 1.5% uptick from the previous year, according to a study by the Food Marketing Institute. Sales for mass merchants, including Target and Walmart, soared to $5 billion, up 7.4%.
The launch of Good & Gather is squarely aimed at Walmart and its popular (and dirt cheap) Great Value store brand. How’s Target competing on price so far? To find out, we shopped Walmart and Target stores in Northern Virginia to compare private-label prices on an assortment of grocery staples. Here’s what we found.
A half-gallon of Good & Gather lactose-free milk rang up at $3.39. At Walmart, a half-gallon of Great Value lactose-free milk was $2.87. A half-gallon of Good & Gather 2% reduced fat organic milk was $3.19. Walmart was selling it for $3. A half-gallon of Good & Gather almond milk was $2.89. Walmart was selling its Great Value almond milk for $2.87. Winner: Walmart.
Say cheese, Walmart: An 8-ounce package of Good & Gather sharp cheddar cheese slices was $2.29. A similar size package of Great Value sharp cheddar cheese slices was $1.84. An 8-ounce package of Target’s Good & Gather shredded cheese (multiple varieties) was $1.99. Walmart was selling 8-ounce packages of its Great Value shredded cheeses for $1.74. Winner: Walmart.
Walmart aced in packaged deli meats, too. Target was selling 9-ounce packages of Good & Gather deli meats (oven-roasted turkey breast, honey ham, etc.) for $2.69. Similar size packages of Great Value deli slices were selling for $2.48. Winner: Walmart.
Neither Walmart nor Target has the best reputation for fresh produce, but they’re both stepping up their game, especially in organics.
Target was selling 12-ounce packages of Good & Gather baby carrots for $1.99. Walmart was selling 16-ounce packages of organic baby carrots for $1.46. Winner: Walmart.
Five-ounce packages of Target’s Good & Gather organic spring mix were selling for $2.39. Walmart’s private-label organic spring mix was selling for $2.56. Winner: Target.
We tried to match up chopped kale, but it was a little dicey. Target was selling packages of Good & Gather chopped kale for $2.99 a pound. Walmart was selling its private-label organic green kale for $4.26 a pound. Winner: Target.
We were a little surprised that we couldn’t find a Walmart knockoff of cartons of the popular LaCroix flavored sparkling water, considering many grocers including Aldi and Wegmans have private-label answers to LaCroix. But Target did: Its 8-pack of 12-ounce cans of Good & Gather flavored sparkling water was $2.99. The only comp we could find at Walmart was an 8-pack of the real LaCroix for $3.88. Winner: Target.
We found 24-packs of 16.9-ounce bottles of Good & Gather purified drinking water for $2.69. Walmart was selling 40-packs of 16.9-ounce bottles of purified drinking water for $3.98. Winner: Walmart (on a price-per-bottle basis).
For those of us who suddenly have a need to buy distilled water, Target’s Good & Gather is on the ball. Gallon bottles are 85 cents. Nonsense, says Walmart. One-gallon bottles of Great Value distilled water are 60 cents (and they’re easier to handle). Winner: Walmart.
When you can’t have fresh fruit in your morning smoothies, frozen is a good alternative. Target knows this. Its 48-ounce private-label packages of various fruits sell for $10.69. Similar size packages of Walmart’s Great Value frozen fruit, however, were $8.47. Winner: Walmart.
We’ve got organic vs. non-organic here, with big differences in prices in a product lineup just about every grocery store now has: private-label cereals. Target’s Good & Gather organic Frosty Flakes or Honey Nut Hoops (boxes range from 12 ounces to 12.25 ounces) were selling for $3.19. Walmart’s non-organic Great Value Frosted Flakes (15-ounce box) were selling for $1.56, and Great Value’s Honey Nut O’s (12.25-ounce box) were selling for $1.23. Winner: Walmart.
Target knows many households go through lots of peanut butter, so it scanned the supermarket horizon and produced its own 40-ounce jar of Good & Gather natural creamy or crunchy peanut butter spread and priced it at $2.79. Walmart was already there with its 40-ounce jars of creamy or crunchy peanut butter selling for $2.26. Winner: Walmart (though Target boasts its PB is 90% peanuts).
Looking for smaller jars? Good & Gather’s 16-ounce jars of organic crunchy or creamy peanut butter sell for $3.99. If you could do without the organic and just go for natural, you’ll save a lot of dough at Walmart. It’s 16-ounce jars of Great Value natural peanut butter spread sell for $1.18. Winner: Walmart, naturally.
Target is upping the ante with fresh snack lineups under the Good & Gather private label, from tortilla chips to organic popcorn. We squared off some of those products with Walmart’s Great Value private-label brand.
A box of four, 1.4-ounce bars of Good & Gather fruit and nut bars were $4.29. Walmart was selling boxes of four, 1.4-ounce peanut and almond nut bars for $3.44. Winner: Walmart.
At Target, packages of six, 4-ounce containers of Good & Gather applesauce were $1.99. At Walmart, packages of six, 4-ounce containers of Great Value applesauce were $1.43. Winner: Walmart.
Target’s 10-ounce containers of Good & Gather hummus in a variety of flavors were $2.99. Similar size packages of Walmart’s private-label hummus were $1.98, a buck less. Winner: Walmart.