What is Target Going to Do with Its Food + Future Lab?

Images of the coLab | Target

Images of the coLab | Target

Restaurants aren't the only businesses focusing on providing more food transparency to customers, the retail giant Target Corp. opened a Food + Future Lab in January of 2016.

In partnership with MIT's Media Lab and design firm Ideo, the team at the lab are researching the future of food in relations to health, food sourcing, urban farming, food transparency, and supply chain.

“By combining the boundless curiosity and discovery of MIT’s Media Lab and IDEO’s human-centered approach to design with Target’s knowledge of retail, we can reimagine the future of food,” said Greg Shewmaker, who is leading the Food + Future coLAB. “We know more about what’s in our smartphones than we do in the last meal we ate.  And that’s something we want to change. This collaboration will help to unlock more options and create more transparency not just for Target’s guests, but consumers everywhere.”

One of the initiatives included building an indoor farm in Target stores and there were plans at one point to test this idea in the Boston store by the Fenway Stadium. 

Unfortunately, the program is just about to be shut down if investors don't come in and save it, according to recent reports. 

"Our intent from the beginning was to incubate Food + Future within Target and then look at options for outside investment," said Target in a statement. "With that in mind, we have been working with the Food + Future team over the past few months to find interested outside investors. That exploratory work continues and we don't have further updates to offer at this time."

Since Target's sales have been on the decline within the last year, the company has been forced to shut down projects. Earlier this year, the brand halted plans to build a store-of-the-future concept in Silicon Valley. Another program that got the axe, known as Goldfish, was supposed to be some kind of online marketplace.

Target's CEO Brian Cornell has said the retail mogul won't be investing in projects in the near future that won't produce additional revenue within the next few years. 

So, the future of Target's lab and it's initiatives looks bleak.

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