Target heats up hot pet category with new store brand

More than a year in the making, the retailer has launched Kindfull, more than 50 pet food items for dogs and cats.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Target’s looking to take a bite out of the growing pet category, introducing Kindfull, a line of more than 50 wet and dry foods, treats and dry toppers for cats and dogs.

The pet category is one that’s seemingly unphased by inflation, per a recent report from IRI that showed the category climb in dollar sales by more than 7% vs. a year ago and earn nearly $40 million in sales throughout the past year. Pet food specifically ranked fifth among CPG sales in the second quarter report.

Target’s Kindfull store brand joins nearly 50 from the mass merchant, and the clean packaging carries a gentle, natural feel, similar to its Good & Gather staple in food and beverage.

The retailer said the products have been more than a year in the making and more than half of the products are priced under $10. Some Kindfull items include Kindfull Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food, Wild Caught Salmon Recipe Wet Cat Food, and Chicken, Pumpkin & Turmeric Recipe Toppers.

Pet adoption has been on the rise during the pandemic, with more people at home to care for the animals. In fact, Alphia, a supplier of store brand pet products, said by the end of 2020, pet ownership reached nearly 71 million U.S. households and climbing. In its 2020 report, Packaged Facts pegged the U.S. pet food industry as a $30 billion industry, increasing by 5% each year over the next four.

Target said last year more families welcomed pets and that the majority of its shoppers are pet parents. Internal research said they were looking for a high quality pet food at a good value, the retailer said. 

The Minneapolis-based chain worked with pet food and nutrition experts to present a pet food store brand option with no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives and no wheat, corn or soy. Ingredients include real poultry, pasture-raised beef and fish that are wild-caught using sustainable practices that help protect ocean resources, Target said.

“Kindfull highlights Target’s continued commitment to providing our guests with an incredible cross-category portfolio of owned brand options to choose from alongside their favorite national brands,” said Jill Sando, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, Target. “With Kindfull, our newest owned brand offers guests pet food for their furry family members that showcases our commitment to quality, value and thoughtfully selected ingredients.”

Stepping in line with Target’s sustainability plan Target Forward, more than 40% of Kindfull items are in recyclable packaging.