Why You Should Avoid Target If You're Shopping For Quality Meat

Target meat department steaks
Target meat department steaks - Jeff Bukowski/Shutterstock

If you shop at Target, you have likely experienced the "Target effect" phenomenon where you walk in specifically to purchase one item and walk out with the whole store. Target's creative merchandising of attractively displayed baubles and bits has a way of luring customers into adding these things to their shopping carts as they move throughout the store. This effect applies to purchasing your weekly grocery necessities, from expansive snack aisles packed with dozens of brands of chips, pretzels, nuts, and one of the most impressive candy selections of any grocery store.

The retailer began prioritizing the grocery department in 2017 and continued expanding its focus toward groceries in 2022, making it a one-stop shop for household and food items. While it may not be the most affordable grocery store, Target has a vast selection of canned sodas, sparkling waters, coffee, tea, and other beverages, as well as shelves of pantry staples, including a range of salsas, sauces, salad dressings, soups, and pasta. However, one area that should be avoided is the store's fresh meat department.

While many Target stores have a cold grocery section for dairy, produce, and meat, the big box retailer does not have a butcher department on-site. Tasting Table's research into what grocery store is the best for its meat department indicates that everything arrives at Target pre-packaged from a distribution center. Without an in-store butcher department, customers lack the ability to hand-select a specific cut and have it trimmed to their liking.

Read more: 14 Popular Chain Grocery Stores For Meat, Ranked Worst To Best

Target's Meat Department Lacks Variety

Target meat department shelves
Target meat department shelves - Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Target follows standards for responsible animal welfare guidelines, ensuring the products achieve U.S. government-regulated specifications. However, aside from noting the products have passed U.S.D.A. inspections, there is little information on where the animals were raised specifically, other than that the meats are products of the United States.

Additionally, the options are rather slim, with most stores stocking a limited selection of expensive products rather than the broad range of options you would find at a typical grocery store or specialty butcher shop. The finite options available may often lack freshness or not be of the highest quality available. We suggest visiting a more typical grocery store for meat, like Sprouts or Whole Foods, and stocking up on the non-perishable items at Target instead. However, if bargain shopping is your passion, Target will discount meats in the department nearing the expiration date, allowing consumers to buy deeply discounted products.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.