TOLEDO (WTOL) - Shoppers can usually purchase soda, chips, candy and any other sort of junk food at Dollar General for under $2.
But now, the low-end retailer is looking to offer their customers healthier food options such as yogurt, nuts and eventually fresh produce and meat according to CNN.
“Low-income communities are frustrated with the distance they need to go to get fresh food,” Elizabeth Racine, a professor of public health at the University of North Carolina Charlotte who has studied dollar stores, told CNN. “Stores that sell fresh produce and fresh meat operate in higher-income areas.”
As a part of their healthy option initiative, Dollar General just started selling “better for you” items under their own brand named “Good & Smart.” In addition, CNN reports that Annie’s, Back to Nature and Nature Valley are sold throughout stores also.
And due to the healthier food items surpassing expectations, the low-end retailer announced Tuesday that it plans to expand the healthy food initiative into more stores.
Jason Reiser, the Chief Merchandising Officer, told CNN after shoppers gave feedback about not being to find affordable food with low sodium, calorie, fat and sugar levels or without artificial sweeteners , the chain began offering options that actually do.
“These types of healthy food options seemed out of reach,” Reiser told CNN.
The chain also told CNN, this push into healthier snacks is part of its larger strategy to sell groceries and fresh food, which would give them an edge on their rivals like Dollar Tree and Family Dollar who do not sell fresh foods.
Catherine Lang, who covers the industry at Kantar Consulting, told CNN, that Dollar General is also trying to beat the threat of discount grocery chains like Aldi.
But because Dollar General keeps its low costs by employing just a handful of workers to keep the store aisles stocked, the store will face challenges due to the investment needed in selling meat and produce, along with the chain’s profitability added Lang.