The discount retailer plans to introduce the fresh produce to more stores over the next several years, according to Progressive Grocer. Currently, Dollar General offers produce at 1,300 stores.
The move will make General Dollar more of a community grocer and comes amid a big growth phase for the retailer. Adding fresh produce could help many communities with food deserts have improved access to healthier food options.
Dollar General also announced it was expanding its relationship with Feeding America, including entering into an operational agreement with the organization, and donating $1 million to provide access to food resources in rural and otherwise underserved communities--and to proactively address food insecurity across the country, PG reported.
The company, which operates roughly 18,000 stores, experienced huge demand in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Spring, Dollar General announced a hiring event with the hopes of attracting 20,000 new employees. In its latest earnings report, Dollar General CEO Todd Vasos noted how the company experienced higher profits thanks in part to COVID-19 stimulus checks from the government in 2020.
Dollar General, known for its $1 products, has made cooler and freezer space its top merchandising priority over the past few years, with new and remodeled stores facilitating more refrigerated and frozen products. The company has also been adding more perishables. Of the 1,300 stores that carry fresh produce, the assortment includes the top 20 items typically sold in grocery stores and approximately 80% of the produce categories carried by most grocers, PG noted.
“Food insecurity impacts communities across the country, and given that Feeding America projects that 42 million people may face hunger as a result of the pandemic, we want to be part of the solution for those facing this issue,” Vasos said in a statement “With our extensive store footprint, often in communities others have chosen not to serve, Dollar General is uniquely positioned to help combat hunger by offering convenient access to a variety of nutritious foods at affordable prices.”
Dollar General has also previously worked with Feeding America, providing donations of perishables foods. The two started testing food donations in summer 2020 in several Indianapolis and Atlanta-area stores. At full capacity, Dollar General will provide up to 20 million meals a year. Dollar General, with the help of a nutritionist, has also created DG Better For You, which provides healthy recipes for each meal of the day sourced from wishlist items at Dollar General stores. Another healthier option is Dollar General’s Good & Smart private brand label.
“Each year, billions of pounds of food go to waste, while millions of Americans face hunger. Feeding America is grateful to Dollar General for ensuring that good, wholesome unsold food gets to people who need it most. We are also grateful for their generous donation of $1 million, which will help provide meals to children and families in rural communities,” said Claire Babineauz-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America.
See the full story at Progressive Grocer.