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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Almond butter? Check. Greek yogurt? Check. Quinoa? Check.

Gabriela Flores is your atypical grocery shopping college student.

This 20-year-old’s weekly food list only costs her about $70 on average per week, but it requires visiting three supermarkets to be cost-effective while satisfying her nutritional standards.

Like most college students, Flores is on a tight budget.

“I don’t think there’s a price on health,” she said. “As long as you consider money and be smart, it doesn’t have to be an expensive lifestyle.”

This microbiology senior said leading a healthier lifestyle can be a little more time-consuming from cooking at home, scanning restaurant menus for healthy options and sifting through nutrition labels at the grocery store.

But it becomes habitual over time, she said.

Flores may be able to spend less time meeting her grocery needs now at a familiar one-stop shop: Target.

In response to an increasing consumer demand for health food items and to keep up with organic supermarket competitors like Trader Joe’s, Target has launched its new grocery wellness brand, Simply Balanced.

The Gainesville location, at 3970 SW Archer Road, stocked its shelves with almost all of the new line’s 250 food products — with prices ranging from $1 to $14.99 — in snacks, seafood, beverages and dairy during the second week of June, said store team leader Brian Jablonski.

“The collection is built on purity, simplicity…and tastiness,” according to a Target news release.

With simple-to-read, brightly colored labels, the Simply Balanced collection took its previous store brand, Archer Farms Simply Balanced, renamed it and created fresh, cohesive packaging.

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“Truth in advertising on food packaging is more important than ever before, as more of us are paying attention to food labels these days,” according to the National Consumers League website.

“We wanted to pinpoint the products to our guests,” Jablonski said.

The Food and Drug Administration believes that “improved labels may assist consumers in making healthier decisions about the food they buy,” according to an online Fox News article.

With more people conscious of nutrition labels, Target’s Simply Balanced products are made with quality and recognizable ingredients.

The entire product line is free of monosodium glutamate, or MSG, according to a Target news release. Forty percent of the line is certified organic and more than 75 percent does not contain genetically modified organisms, commonly known as GMOs.

Some of the product line has been carried over from its previous store brand, while other foods have been given a flavor makeover, and a few brand new foods have been introduced.

“We will be offering new, enhanced flavor products in the fall,” Jablonski said.

You can expect to find a variety of health food items from gluten-free pasta to sundried tomato popcorn chips to blood orange essence water while walking down the aisles of this superstore.

Target’s goal is to increase organic food offerings by 25 percent by the end of 2017, according to Target’s website.

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