Dollar Stores Become Fastest-Growing Retailers As Americans Struggle with Rising Food Costs

Davie, FL, USA - July 30, 2022: Dollar Tree RK Center Davie FL.
felixmizioznikov / Getty Images

The price of eggs rose to a national average of $4.25 per dozen for the Grade A, Large, variety, as of December 2022, and jumped another 60% in 2023, according to CPI data reported by CNBC.com. With many other foods following suit, Americans are turning to dollar stores to reduce their grocery bills, according to a recent study in the American Journal of Public Health.

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The study, reported by Vice, collected data from 50,0000 households between 2008 and 2020 to see where Americans are shopping for food and what they are buying there.

Traditional grocery stores are losing market share in recent decades. In 2008, consumers spent 62.3% of their grocery budget in traditional grocery stores. By 2020, that number decreased to 58.3%.

Wholesale clubs like Costco swallowed up some of that market share, with purchases increasing by 2.4%. Walmart, Target and other supercenters gained 1.5% of household food budgets. Meanwhile, Americans spent 1% more of their food budget at dollar stores in 2020 than in prior years.

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While a 1% increase does not sound like a lot, researchers called dollar stores “the fastest growing retail channel” for food. Overall, dollar stores saw an 89.7% increase in food purchases between 2008 and 2020.

Trends varied by region, according to the report. In rural areas, dollar store purchases grew by 102.9%, with growth largely split between Dollar General and Dollar Tree (which also owns Family Dollar).

One of the concerns regarding shoppers choosing to buy their groceries at dollar stores is access to healthier fresh foods and produce. However, Dollar General does sell eggs and milk. In recent years, the store added fresh produce to thousands of its locations, as well, providing shoppers with healthier choices.

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Shopping at dollar stores for some of your groceries can be one way to fight inflation. Just make sure you are avoiding highly processed foods when possible and making the best choices for your family within your budget.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.
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