Target, Freshii collaborate to offer healthier food


Lou Foglia

Freshii will offer quick, healthy food options in Target cafes across Chicago. 


Target has teamed up with Freshii, a Canadian fast-food franchise that offers healthy options, in its cafes.

Starting Oct. 12, select Target stores are trading in items like nachos and hot dogs for  fresh salads and kale. In eight test stores in the Chicago area, Target will replace its traditional cafes with Freshii restaurants.

The collaboration grew out of Target’s desire to make  healthier food available to its customers, according to Amy Joiner, Target spokesperson said. 

“Target has emphasized the importance of food, wellness and localization in delivering for our guests,” Joiner said in an Oct. 8 emailed statement. 

“One way this is coming together in our stores is through a test of three new brands in Target cafes, including Freshii at eight Chicago-area stores and one Minneapolis store,” she said.

Freshii restaurants will debut at two Chicago locations–—South Loop Target at 1154 S. Clark St. and North Side Target at 2656 N. Elston Ave, as well as at stores in Arlington Heights, Highland Park, Willowbrook, Lombard, Glenview and Hodgkins, said Nikki Ellis, a spokeswoman for Freshii,  in an Oct. 7 emailed statement.

Some Chicagoans are excited about the change.

“Instead of grabbing a hamburger and going to McDonald’s, you now have the option of a healthy, organic menu,” said Maria Pineda, a Lincoln Park resident. 

Joiner said Target’s cafes would be redesigned so when shoppers first enter, their experience will be unique and cater to guest desires.

“We know Target guests are looking for fast but casual food service options in our stores that provide quality food, service and value,” Joiner said.  “Located at the store’s entrance, the Target cafes are guests’ first in-store experience. Joining with new partners to remodel the cafe demonstrates how Target is addressing our guests’ evolving mindset on food and wellness.”

Joiner explained why Chicago was chosen as a test site. 

“The tests are taking place in markets where Target has a strong presence, and we consistently receive guest feedback and input on our offerings,” Joiner said.

The success of the testing phase will be determined by customer feedback on the new healthy initiative, Joiner said. 

Target cafe tests will be evaluated through an analysis of sales data and guest feedback to help inform future decisions, she added.

“We are excited to see how our guests react to these new options to better inform what resonates,” Joiner said.

Some Columbia College students are thrilled to have healthy on-the- go food choices.  

“I absolutely love it, said Emily Jelsomeno,  senior  education major. “I am someone who believes in living a healthy lifestyle. Target is such a huge place that people go to all the time, especially in Chicago because it’s convenient. It’s nice because if you need to get something quick to have healthy options.”