The accelerator program, which will be 100% virtual and last five weeks, provides participating founders with mass retail curriculum and "in-depth mentorship" from Target leaders, industry experts, and past alumni from the program.
The retailer clarified that being selected for Target Takeoff doesn't necessarily entrepreneurs will gain distribution at the mass retailer, but that in the fifth and final week of the accelerator, brand entrepreneurs will be able to pitch their brand to Target category buyers one-on-one.
As a Target accelerator alumni, brands will have continued access to support, exclusive events, and other resources, said the company.
Niche to mainstream: 'We long identified Target as the perfect partner'
Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA, Emily Griffiths, founder of Chicago-based Lil Bucks, one of the selected brands of Target's accelerator program, said inclusion in the program will help the brand make the leap from a natural, health food brand to a mainstream audience.
"While our retailer footprint is focused on natural right now, of course we plan to expand to mass market," Griffiths told FoodNavigator-USA.
"We long ago identified Target as the perfect partner for tipping our innovative products to a mainstream trend. We are thrilled and honored to spend every day closely working with the Target team to learn everything we need to know from product, pricing, operations, marketing and finances to strategically roll out our different product lines in Target over the years to come."
Griffiths also clarified that participating in Target Takeoff was not a distribution guarantee but that the program "will surely help us shoot our best shot."
Target Takeoff Food & Beverage Cohort:
Artisan Tropic is a family business making dried plantain and cassava snacks.
Bagelista produces authentic New York bagels that consumers can freshly bake at home.
DEUX makes cookie dough enhanced with vitamins, collagen, and protein, which are also vegan and gluten-free.
ESSIESPICE creates vegan, small batch cooking sauces and spice blends from Africa.
Lil Bucks is a mission-driven brand making crunchy snacks and granolas from US-grown buckwheat.
Pan’s makes plant-based jerky from shiitake mushrooms while providing an umami taste and satisfying meaty texture.
Sanzo is an Asian-inspired sparkling water, made with real fruit and no added sugar.
ThaiFusions Co. creates authentic Thai sauces and curries made
UNiTE is a high-protein packaged churro snack company
wildwonder is on a mission to make wellness accessible, starting with a better drink for gut health.
Zach & Zoe Sweet Bee Farm is a family-owned apiary in central New Jersey that harvests raw, superfood-infused honey.