GOODLESTTSVILLE, Tenn. — Dollar General Corp. plans to add produce at up to 10,000 stores over the next few years, up from approximately 1,300 locations that currently offer produce for sale.
This moves the chain closer to functioning as a grocer in more of the communities in which it operates, reported Convenience Store News' sister publication Progressive Grocer.
In conjunction with the news of its fresh food expansion, Dollar General announced a new partnership with Feeding America, the largest domestic hunger-relief organization in the United States. In conjunction with the partnership, the operator made a $1 million donation to the organization to provide access to food resources in rural and otherwise underserved communities and to proactively address food insecurity across the country.
Dollar General's top merchandising priority in recent years has been the addition of freezer and cooler space in new and remodeled stores to facilitate the addition of more refrigerated and frozen products, according to the report. Its stores that offer fresh produce provide the top 20 items typically sold in grocery stores and approximately 80 percent of the produce categories carried by most grocers, the company said.
"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," said Dollar General CEO Todd Vasos. "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."
The company's work with Feeding America builds on existing efforts by providing in-kind donations of perishable foods to help nourish and feed those in need. At full capacity, Dollar General will provide up to 20 million meals a year, according to Vasos.
"Each year, billons 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," said Feeding America CEO Claire Babineauz-Fontenot. "We are also grateful for their generous donation of $1 million, which will help provide meals to children and families in rural communities."
Dollar General and Feeding America first began testing food donations in summer 2020 at several Indianapolis and Atlanta-area stories. The chain recently expanded its donation footprint to its DG Fresh cold storage facilities.
In addition to weekly collections, the partnership will provide opportunities for Feeding America and local food banks to collect food items during times of crisis.
Goodlettsville-based Dollar General operates more than 17,400 stores in 46 states.
Convenience Store News and Progressive Grocer are properties of EnsembleIQ.