There are more than 35,000 dollar stores across the U.S. — more locations than the other top ten largest food retail companies combined. Dollar General owns 18,000 of them.
Dollar stores are especially concentrated in Black and Latine communities and communities with limited financial resources where access to supermarkets is more limited. Dollar General stores may be serving as important food access points, but could do more to improve healthy food access in their communities. Only 16% of Dollar General locations sell fresh fruit or vegetables, and almost none participate in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), a federal program that improves access to nutritious foods for the six million women, infants, and children with lower incomes who participate in the program. Unfortunately, only half of WIC-eligible families participate, in part due to limited retailer participation.
CSPI recently conducted a national survey and heard from dollar store customers across the country that they want dollar stores to make healthy food more available, affordable, and accessible. Having fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, eggs, baby food, and formula available at the local Dollar General would make healthy foods more accessible as dollar stores help fill a gap in communities that lack grocery stores. Dollar General can do this by accepting WIC at more of their stores. To become WIC authorized, Dollar General stores would be required to stock a range of healthy products that families participating in WIC can use their benefits to purchase. This would benefit families participating in WIC, who might have to travel far to find an authorized retailer. It would also mean more nutritious food options for all customers who shop at a WIC-authorized dollar store.
Finding healthy and affordable food should be easy. Tell Dollar General to support families and offer more healthy foods in their stores.
Calling all organizations and researchers! Show your organizational support for healthier foods in dollar stores through WIC expansion by signing onto our advocacy letter to Dollar General.