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A popular destination for beauty products and cheap-chic fashions, Target is also one of America’s largest food retailers, raking in some $22 billion in grocery sales last year. The big-box store with the bullseye logo is a reliable source of affordably priced snacks, beverages, frozen foods, and pantry staples. Now, the retailer is beefing up its fresh food offerings as well—quite literally, in fact.
Massachusetts-based Verde Farms just announced that Target now carries its line of organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised beef products. The lineup includes three popular cuts of steak: a 10-ounce ribeye, a 10-ounce strip, and a pack of two six-ounce sirloins, offered at the introductory price of $11.99. The steaks are available from Target online and at over 110 stores across a dozen states in the South and Midwest, according to a company rep.
A press release from Verde described the collaboration as “a significant milestone for both companies.” While Target already sells ground beef and USDA Choice-grade steaks under its store brand, Good & Gather, Verde’s better-for-you meats are “the only organic and 100% grass-fed steaks offered” by the retailer, the supplier noted.
The new high-quality meat option is emblematic of Target’s ever-greater focus on its grocery business, as U.S. shoppers turn away from big-ticket discretionary items like electronics in favor of household essentials. “At the moment, given where the consumer is spending, we’re, of course, leaning on the strength of our food and beverage portfolio,” Christina Hennington, Target’s executive vice president and chief growth officer, said during an earnings call last month. Hennington noted that food and beverage sales grew in the single digits during the last quarter, with “particular strength in snacks, candy, and beverages.”
Verde provided Eat This, Not That! with a free sample of the sirloin steaks now available at Target. (The retailer’s New York-area stores don’t yet carry the products.) The portion size and packaging is immediately comparable to the Pineland Farms brand of top sirloin steak, sold in a similar two-pack at Whole Foods Market for a buck more at $12.99 each.
Here’s a detailed breakdown of this reporter’s initial impressions.
Per Serving (4 oz): 140 cal, 5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 65 mg sodium, 0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 24 g protein
The look: Modest in size and fresh in color. Dietitians regularly advise diners to limit their meat portions to the size of their palm or a deck of cards, and these steaks would probably comply with that guideline. The 12-ounce pack includes two steaks. The first one I cooked weighed a smidge over six ounces on my kitchen scale and measured about an inch thick. Sirloins in general show less marbling than fattier cuts like the ribeye, and this steak fits the stereotype, with minimal streaks throughout. The muscle, meanwhile, is maroonish red and very juicy looking.
The taste: Succulent if a bit sinewy. After a quick four-minute sear on each side and a little rest time on the cutting board, the steak attained a nice moist pink center and gushed with juice. The first few bites proved remarkably tender, though the meat got a little chewier toward the center of the cut. Though I did encounter one gristly bite, the steak had a mostly soft texture and an appealing, rich beefy flavor.
The verdict: Having never tried any steak from Target before, this sirloin makes a pretty good first impression. Regular Target shoppers, who are more accustomed to middle-aisle merchandise like bagged snacks and canned goods, may be reluctant to pick up a fresh meat product, but the vibrant, quality-focused messaging on the package and attractive pricing could prove convincing.