Dollar Stores Take the Lead in Health

Retailers such as Dollar General are adding fresh options and better-for-you brands


It may be surprising to know that among the 25,000 people that attended this year's Winter Fancy Food Show from Jan. 13-15 in San Francisco, quite a few were from the dollar store channel.

This year, its more important than ever since the announcement by Dollar General to add coolers of fresh food to their stores in some cities to reinforce equal access to healthy groceries for all.

Dollar General has already added around 125 better-for-you items to its shelves in 2,700 stores. The products appear under Dollar General's Good & Smart house brand, and the chain also carries Annie's, Back to Nature, Honest, Nature Valley and Kashi brands.

In a conversation on “Fixing the Food Supply Chain,” led by Sam Sifton, food editor of The New York Times; Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council; and Walter Robb, former co-CEO of Whole Foods Markets, each made the argument that it makes moral, social and economic sense to ensure equitable access to fresh food in communities throughout the United States.

A 2012 Tulane University study found that on average there is one supermarket for every 8,500 residents in the U.S.

According to Robb of Stonewall Robb Advisors, an investment and advising firm for food businesses, it makes economic sense for retailers, investors and entrepreneurs to have a vested interest in this issue.

“Food is the most robust sector in the economy,” he said. “People have to eat.”

Dollar General is leading the way; hopefully others will follow.


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