Inside Target’s Food + Future coLab

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No one would mistake Target’s Food + Future coLAB in Cambridge, Mass., with a typical Target retail location. The bull’s-eye logo is nowhere in evidence, and there’s also not a single parking spot out front, let alone acres of them.

But enter the (non-automatic) glass door and descend an industrial staircase, and you’ve entered into a laboratory where Target is trying to envision the future of its grocery business — and get ahead of changing consumer preferences around food.

The coLAB is a creation of $74 billion Target, headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn.; the design and consulting firm IDEO; and the MIT Media Lab, located just a few blocks away. Overseeing the project is Greg Shewmaker, who joined Target as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence in 2015 after stints at Tesco, Staples, and an e-commerce company called 3c Marketlabs.

The idea behind the creation of the coLAB, as Shewmaker explains it, is that “we know less about our food than we ever have at any other time in history. We want to do something about it. I don’t want to go sell more Greek yogurt or healthy products. I want to go do something big, and fix some big problems.”

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