A study conducted by the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) concluded that the quality of fruit and vegetables at dollar stores is as good as the produce at conventional grocery stores. For the study, fruit and veggies at 14 dollar stores were compared in terms of color, cleanliness, freshness and firmness with produce at 40 traditional food retailers in the Las Vegas metro area.
“The dollar store fruits may be ripe – and you’ll have to eat it soon – but it’s completely good quality,” according to UNLV Professor Courtney Coughenour.
The study also found that produce costs much less at dollar stores, although the variety offered at dollar stores was not as good. None of the dollar stores carried pears, for instance.
UNLV is hopeful that its findings will aid public health efforts to boost accessibility to affordable, nutritious food, since 17.3 million people in the U.S. live in “food deserts,” which are defined as low income areas that are more than one mile from grocery stores.
Dollar stores continue to expand throughout the U.S., and the major chains continue to ramp up their selection of produce and refrigerated space.