A new study from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas found that the quality of fruits and vegetables at dollar stores was just as good as regular supermarket produce, news that could benefit budget-conscious shoppers and those that live in USDA-labeled food deserts.
The study compared the color, cleanliness, freshness and firmness of fruits and vegetables in 14 dollar-discount stores to 40 traditional food outlets across the Las Vegas metro. And while there was less variety of product at dollar stores, there was no significant difference in the quality.
The study noted that the dollar store fruits tended to be ripe and were in need of relatively quick consumption, but also found that 84% of produce was significantly less expensive at the dollar stores.
“These findings are important for public health, as our study indicates that channel blurring at the dollar discount stores results in access to healthy, quality produce and affordable food options,” the researchers wrote. “Because cost, quality, and accessibility are established barriers to healthy eating, dollar discount stores can serve as community assets that increase access to quality, affordable food.”