With a wide selection of food items, Target has been a go-to destination for several shoppers looking to stock their refrigerators and pantries. Though Target does offer great deals on various food products all year round, there are still a number of food supplies that you’d be better off purchasing at other stores for cost, quality or health reasons. Check out the list below to discover the foods you should never buy again at Target:
Target’s Good & Gather honey almond light roast ground coffee
Many Good & Gather coffee products at Target are great, but this naturally flavored honey almond light roast ground coffee is not one of them. A couple of reviewers wrote on the retailer’s website that this particular coffee variety tastes and smells like a floral perfume, which is definitely not a quality of a good coffee. In fact, one of them ended up giving her coffee maker a full vinegar wash just to remove the coffee’s strong floral hint.
Target’s Market Pantry 100% white grape juice
Although one of the most expensive juices under the Market Pantry label, this 100% white grape juice is not top quality. A lot of reviewers found it “nasty” tasting, with one consumer describing its taste as “more of a rotten juice flavor.” Another shopper who left a comment on Target’s website wrote “it almost taste[s] like grass water with sweetener.” So the next time you’re in the mood for a glass of white grape juice, just pick one of the name brands you know and trust.
Target’s Market Pantry classic roast medium roast ground coffee
Although cheaper than some name-brand coffee products, Market Pantry classic roast medium roast ground coffee is one of the foods you should never buy again at Target. With a low score among Consumer Reports’ taste testers, this particular coffee has been called out for its bitter taste and “lack of complexity.”
Some consumers, who gave the coffee a low rating on the Target website, described its taste as “terrible” and “nasty.” One reviewer also commented that it “doesn’t even smell good.”
Target’s Market Pantry diet tonic water
If you don’t want to ruin your favorite cocktail drink, then stay away from Target’s Market Pantry diet tonic water. Most consumers who left a review of the product on the retailer’s website gave it a one-star rating, with many of them complaining about the drink’s bad taste. Though it’s one of the cheapest diet tonic water around, it has been described by reviewers as “awful,” “disgusting,” and “probably the worst tonic” they’ve ever had.
Target’s Market Pantry frozen buffalo-style chicken bites
Aside from the fact that these breaded chicken bites serve up a ton of sodium, a number of consumers who have tried them claimed that they’re completely not worth buying. According to some of the product reviews on Target’s website, these chicken bites are mostly breading. But what really makes them terrible is that their breading remains mushy even if they are deliberately overcooked.
The breads at Target aren’t really bad. Most of them are actually from the same name brands that you would also find at your local supermarkets. The problem lies in their price tags. At Target, you’re paying almost twice as much for both the cheapest breads and the more costly name brands. To save some bucks, simply buy breads at the grocery store nearest you.
Though Target has a dedicated section for fresh produce, you should still save your main produce shopping for your go-to grocery store. While there are a number of reasons why fresh produce are included on our list of foods you should never buy again at Target, the main explanation is that they cost less at other retailers.
For instance, regular and organic fresh produce products at Target are being sold at higher prices compared to those at Walmart. But if you’re really looking for a great deal, try shopping for fresh produce at a farmer’s market, where you would usually get a ton of fruits and vegetables for a small amount of money.
Target’s Market Pantry frozen macaroni & cheese bites
If you’re trying to live a healthier life, then you should include Market Pantry frozen macaroni & cheese bites to the list of foods you should never buy again at Target. Between the calories, fat, and sodium that its 8-ounce pack contains, it would be much healthier if you’d simply munch on actual slices of cheese than snacking on these treats.
While some consumers find these mac & cheese bites tasty, others are simply not a fan of the product. One reviewer wrote on Target’s website that the snack was “dry” and had “no flavor.” Another commenter shared that her kids were simply not thrilled by it.
Target’s Market Pantry honey and nut toasted oats breakfast cereal
Other Market Pantry cereals are delicious, but this one tastes like cardboard, according to a couple of reviews on Target’s website. To be fair, this toasted oat cereal used to be great, but thanks to a recipe change, it now tastes terrible. The cereal no longer has the honey and oats flavor it used to have and now has a “gross aftertaste,” as per one reviewer. Instead of buying this, we suggest you shell out an extra dollar or two to get the honey nut cereal from the name-brand Cheerios.
Target’s Market Pantry horseradish sauce
Looking for a quality horseradish sauce to spice up your roast beef sandwich? Then avoid getting Target’s Market Pantry horseradish sauce at all costs. According to some product reviews on Target’s website, this store-brand sauce has the taste and consistency of mayonnaise – not horseradish. Some reviewers also found the taste too sweet for a horseradish sauce, with others claiming that the product has a weird aftertaste. To prevent yourself from getting disappointed, stick to horseradish sauce from name brands like Kraft and Woeber’s.
Target’s Market Pantry macaroni & cheese dinner
Target’s Market Pantry brand has some great grocery products, but this is clearly not one of them. The pasta of Market Pantry macaroni & cheese dinner gets soggy quickly and its overall taste is just bad. A number of reviews on Target’s website indicate that this mac & cheese taste “bland,” with some reviewers describing it as too sugary. So if you don’t want to be disappointed, just get the original Kraft macaroni & cheese for a slightly higher price.
Target’s Market Pantry mixed berry fruit snacks
A lot of longtime Target shoppers used to love these mixed berry fruit snacks. But since Market Pantry changed the product’s recipe, many of them have switched to other brands. According to a number of reviews on Target’s website, these fruit snacks now have a “weird artificial aftertaste.” While some find the overall taste fine, almost all reviewers complained that the treats are now as “hard as a rock.”
Additionally, one little pack of these fruit snacks already contains 14 grams of sugar and 13 grams of added sugar, so you’re basically just eating sugar every time you have them. For a much better alternative, simply buy actual berries instead.
While you would appreciate Target for selling a wide variety of frozen seafoods, you may want to buy them from other stores for quality reasons. In August 2021, the Food and Drug Administration recalled a batch of frozen shrimp products that were sold at Target, Whole Foods, and Meijer due to salmonella risks.
Generic brand snacks
Though Target offers an extensive range of generic brand snacks like jerky sticks, nuts, chips, crackers, and pretzels, these products are being sold at much cheaper prices at Dollar Tree. But if you pick up some of these on your next trip to a Dollar Store near you, make sure to check their expiration dates because their shelf lives aren’t always that generous.
Target’s Market Pantry orange juice
This orange juice from Market Pantry only has a two-star rating on Target’s website, so make sure to add it to your list of foods you should never buy again. One of the consumers who left a review of the product wrote that it’s the “absolute most horrid orange juice” she has ever tasted. Others commented that it is “gross,” has a “really odd” color, and “doesn’t even taste like an orange juice.”
Target’s Market Pantry original complete pancake & waffle mix
If pancake and waffle are your go-to breakfast, then make sure that Market Pantry’s original complete pancake & waffle mix won’t enter your shopping cart. According to some product reviews on the retailer’s website, this mix is difficult to smooth out and doesn’t dissolve completely at times. But the bigger problem about it is its taste, with many reviewers claiming that it’s too sweet for a pancake or a waffle. One reviewer even wrote that the mix “tastes like vanilla cake.”
Target’s Market Pantry peanut butter on cheese sandwich crackers
While some consumers find the taste of these sandwich crackers okay, a number of shoppers who have tried them said that they are too spicy for what they are. According to a product review on Target’s website, these sandwich crackers “have a jalapeno taste” that leaves “a slight burning sensation” on the throat. Some of the reviewers commented that Market Pantry should change the snack’s label to inform buyers of its spicy flavor.
Target’s Market Pantry pimiento stuffed green olives
Market Pantry’s pimiento stuffed green olives used to be good until some consumers noticed that the product’s recipe has been changed. Compared to the old recipe, the new formulation is way saltier. Some reviewers also pointed outing on Target’s website that the product now has a “chemical” flavor and smell.
Target’s Market Pantry pink lemonade
When served in a cold glass with ice, pink lemonades are great thirst quenchers. But one glass of Target’s Market Pantry pink lemonade already contains 29 grams of sugar, which is equivalent to the amount of sugar you’ll get in one Hershey’s chocolate bar.
In addition to having high sugar content, Target’s Market Pantry pink lemonade isn’t really the best-tasting pink lemonade on the market. A couple of reviewers wrote on Target’s website that the drink tastes “disgusting,” with another consumer likening its taste to that of a “household cleaner.”
Individual snack packs
While Target sells a wide variety of individual snack packs, it isn’t really the best place to shop for them. To save some bucks, purchase snack packs in bulk at Sam’s Club or Costco instead. For comparison, 30 individual snack packs of the same variety are only selling for around $20 at Costco, while individual snack packs at Target costs around $3 to $4 each.
Meats at Target are more expensive than those being sold at other retailers. So why pay more for literally the same product? Though Target marks down their meat from time to time, meat sales are almost always ongoing at rival retailers like Walmart, Kroger, and Kings.
Target’s Market Pantry raisin bran breakfast cereal
Although Market Pantry’s raisin bran breakfast cereal is a great source of fiber, its 17 grams of sugar per serving is pretty high. So if you’re on a low sugar diet, make sure to include it on the list of foods you should never buy again at Target. Kellogg’s version of the cereal has very similar nutritional value, so you may also want to avoid it the next time you do your grocery shopping.
Target’s Market Pantry salad dressings
While Target’s Market Pantry ketchup, mayonnaise, and maple syrup all got rave reviews from Consumer Reports’ taste testers, the retailer’s store-brand salad dressings — Caesar, light ranch, and ranch — all failed to impress the expert product reviewers.
Described as “middling at best,” Target’s Market Pantry salad dressings are anything but fresh. They are packed with preservatives and dehydrated spices, and have a high content of cholesterol and sodium. For a better salad dressing option, try the well-balanced Trader Joe’s Romano Caesar dressing.
Target’s Market Pantry soy sauce
Though cheaper than its name-brand counterparts, Market Pantry soy sauce should be on your list of foods you should never buy again at Target. Based on a number of reviews on the retailer’s website, this soy sauce has very poor quality. “This is more like water with a drop of soy sauce,” one reviewer wrote of the condiment. “There’s really no flavor and tastes very watered down.”
Target’s Market Pantry thin crust four cheese frozen pizza
Target’s Market Pantry thin crust four cheese frozen pizza is no longer as great as it was before. A lot of consumers who used to buy the product noticed that Market Pantry had changed the recipe, which, apparently, was a downgrade from its previous version.
According to the product reviews on Target’s website, the frozen pizza is not nearly as flavorful as before and now gives a slight chemical aftertaste. The crust is now thick and puffy, and is no longer crunchy as it used to be. The toppings are also sloppier and the sauce is heavier and sweeter. It’s also noticeable that the pizza now has less cheese on it than there used to be.
Target’s up & up baby formulas
Store-brand baby formulas like those under Target’s up & up label tend to have different content from their name-brand counterparts. So to ensure that you’re providing your baby with the best quality formula, stick to name brands like Similac, Enfamil, Earth’s Best, and Gerber Good Start.
Additionally, Target’s up & up baby formula products are some of the priciest on the market, so if you’re looking to score a better deal, consider purchasing baby formulas in bulk at warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s Club.
Buying name-brand medication at Target will cost you a lot more than purchasing generic medication. For instance, a 300-count Advil retails at almost $20 at Target, while a 500-count of Target’s up & up ibuprofen only cost $8.
Furthermore, name-brand allergy medication, cough syrups, and even antibiotic creams are being sold at Target for double the cost of their generic counterparts. So as long as the active ingredients and quantity match, buy Target’s store-brand or other generic versions.
Target has a pet product section where you can buy different pet foods and pet accessories. But if you’re a cat owner, you may want to do your cat food shopping elsewhere. Though Target does offer a number of grain-free and other specialty cat foods, the retailer’s cat food selection is relatively small compared to Petco and other pet stores. So if you’re looking for a specific diet for your cat, there’s a big chance that you won’t find it at Target.
Name-brand pasta noodles
If you’re buying ingredients for your next pasta dish, make sure not to pick up name-brand pasta noodles at Target as they are more expensive than their store-brand counterparts. Instead, buy pasta noodles under Target’s Good & Gather and Market Pantry brands. Most pasta noodles from these two Target-owned brands are cheaper than their name-brand rivals and still manage to deliver on quality. Name-brand pasta noodles and store-brand pasta noodles usually have near-identical ingredients, so the latter is always the smarter choice.
Specialty baking ingredients
Although Target has a decent selection of basic ingredients for baking — even better than some grocery stores, it’s far from being a haven for advanced bakers. If you’re shopping for specialty baking ingredients like harder-to-find flours, flavors, oils, and extracts, then you should be heading to a true baking supplies shop instead of Target.