The budget-oriented store chain is expanding its grocery aisle to offer fresh foods to customers—here's what you can expect. 

By Arielle Weg Zee Krstic and Lauren Wicks
Updated December 06, 2018
Getty: Bloomberg / Contributor

UPDATE: After announcing that they would rehaul stores in 2017 in order to introduce fresh produce, Dollar General has built on this momentum with their new Better-For-You initiative. The program works to provide customers with more than 130 healthier yet affordable choices in their stores. Most of these will come from the company’s newer private label, Good & Smart, and will also include beverages.

This year, Dollar General remodeled more than 400 stores to bring fresh produce and perishable items to thrifty shoppers by the end of 2018.

In the meantime, Dollar General is still expanding cooler and freezer sections across many stores, which allows older locations to start selling fresh food. You may have noticed that some stores have been renovated and remodeled in order to make room for this section—the company says there will be even more updates coming soon.

Dollar General plans to open 975 new stores and remodel 1,000 of their current stores in 2019, as part of the effort to bring in more fresh produce as well as healthy foods and beverages to their stores nationwide.

On a company earnings call, Dollar General CEO Todd Vasos acknowledged that the chain's move to sell fresh veggies and fruit has drawn new customers—and the initial market test of perishables in nearly 50 stores in 2017 was extremely promising for the brand.

Photo courtesy of Dollar General.

What can you expect from these new stores? Dollar General is adding new coolers into their grocery aisles to offer everything you could find at a traditional grocery store, like bagged lettuce, vegetables, and freshly picked herbs. And their fruit section is impressive, with finds such as .95 cent avocados.

Even if your local Dollar General isn't one of the 450 selling produce, the effort to remodel stores will include a sweeping update to the chain's infamously unhealthy snack aisle, where customers have to be on their toes to find sound, healthy options. Vasos shared that Dollar General is seeking out lower-sodium items and snacks with higher protein counts. 

RELATED: 10 Surprisingly Healthy Foods You Can Buy at Dollar General

In addition to updating their fleet of 14,000 stores nationwide, Dollar General is also exploring other expansions into the grocery landscape, including a brand new concept for a deli-like market called DGX. At a time where other retailers are focusing on expanding digital commerce, or tightening their business models, Dollar General has not only experienced growth—its found a way to remain relevant to modern shoppers by offering fresh groceries at extremely low prices.

The original article, published Sept. 1, 2017, continues below: 

---

The last place you think of when you need to replenish your refrigerator is the dollar store, but that's all about to change. The dollar store chain, Dollar General announced plans to expand the cooler sections of their stores and focus on fresh produce sales over the next year. We are thrilled by the possibility to snag fruits and veggies with super sweet deals. 

Dollar General has been getting quite the makeover this past year. The chain currently has 185 stores remodeled across the country, with a third of them testing this new fresh produce concept. The company found these locations were performing up to four times better than the older models, prompting the brand to expand the grocery focused locations. These newer models sell fruits and vegetables, dairy products, frozen, and dry grocery along with regular dollar store items. 

But this isn't the only change we've seen to the old-school dollar store we know and love. In the past year, Dollar General revealed the new urban shopper concept, DGX. The small space offers shoppers a beverage bar, coffee station, grab-and-go sandwiches, and additional dry goods. Plus, Dollar General bought out Walmart Express stores this past year, transforming them into DG Plus locations. The expansion into selling fresh meat and produce in DG Plus stores proved to be extremely successful, prompting the addition of more coolers in dozens of Dollar General stores around the country. 

The Dollar General Market boasts fresh produce like cantaloupe, tomatoes, grapes, peaches, and peppers sold alongside fresh cuts of chicken and steak. The items appear to sell between $1 and $5 per pound.