retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Business Insider reports that Target is testing a concept in Edina, Minnesota, that "allows customers to pay for certain produce, including strawberries and raspberries, based on how fresh they are ... 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."

Describing these systems as representing a kind of "radical transparency," the story says that it is part of a broader effort by Target to define itself as different from increasingly broad and deep competition in the grocery segment.

The story notes that "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'."
KC's View:
Not just a source of product, but a resource for information ... this kind of transparency and information-based marketing is, I think, a harbinger of things to come. I suspect there will be a lot of different iterations and tests, but that in the end, many retailers will find that there more they tell people about the food they are putting in their mouths - how it is made, where it is made, what the ingredients are, and the item's environmental context - the more trusted and respected they will be.