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After seeing success with food sales in 2022, stores like Dollar Tree and Dollar General have started adding more healthy options to their food aisles. But since we know that not everything is a good deal at the dollar store, we did some digging to figure out exactly what’s worth buying in the dollar store food aisle.
We compared a list of popular health foods that are already priced competitively across three discount stores: Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and Walmart. The low-price winner for each healthy food item on this list might surprise you.
A few teasers: Dollar General rarely came in first place (except for pinto beans and cereal pouches). And Walmart and Dollar Tree had some surprising successes for well-priced dollar-store food. Use this list as a tool to map out your healthy food shopping trips so you never overpay.
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1. Dry pinto beans are up to 25% cheaper at Dollar General compared to Walmart and Dollar Tree.
Of course, if you’re comparing dollar store food prices with a grocery store like Albertsons — where a 16-oz bag of generic dry pinto beans costs $2.49 — then Walmart, Dollar Tree, and Dollar General all look like a steal at less than half the total cost. But don’t be lulled into thinking all those lower-than-normal prices are a good deal.
But check out the cost for the same size bag of dry pinto beans at Dollar General: just $1! That’s 25% cheaper than Dollar Tree and Walmart.
2. Skip buying canned peas at dollar stores entirely — Walmart has them for 36% to 49% less.
But Walmart is priced the best with their 15-oz can of peas for just $0.64 a can. That’s half the cost of the Dollar Tree can and 36% cheaper than Dollar General’s price!
Related: Check out more of our findings for things you should never buy at Dollar Tree.
3. Get canned fruit at Dollar Tree — it’s slightly cheaper than at Walmart (and 50% cheaper than at Dollar General).
When you need to stock up on canned fruit, making a trip to Dollar Tree might be worth it. You can get a 20-oz can of pineapple chunks for just $1.25 at Dollar Tree.
Dollar General sells the same 20-oz can for twice as much — $2.50.
Dollar Tree’s low price on canned fruit even beats out Walmart’s price by 3 cents. There it costs $1.28 for the same 20-oz can of pineapple.
4. Dollar stores just can’t compete with Walmart’s rock-bottom tuna prices — just $1.14 per can.
When you compare the prices of canned tuna at Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and Walmart, you’ll find that it’s nearly impossible to beat Walmart’s tuna prices.
You save $0.01 – $0.11 per can of tuna (about 8% – 9% savings) when you skip the dollar stores and shop for tuna cans at Walmart instead.
5. Buy instant oatmeal at Walmart instead of the dollar store and save $0.10 to $0.14 per packet.
Believe it or not, Dollar General has the worst price of all three retailers for instant oatmeal packets. Their price is $1.85 for 6 packets, which comes out to $0.31/packet.
Dollar Tree is a bit better at $1.25 for a box of 6 instant oatmeal packets, or $0.21/packet.
But Walmart sells a 10-pack of oatmeal packets for $1.68, or just $0.17/packet. That’s 45% cheaper than the Dollar General price and 19% cheaper than Dollar Tree’s price.
6. Walmart’s peanut butter is 23% cheaper than Dollar Tree and 29% cheaper than Dollar General.
Dollar General has the most expensive price on peanut butter by far, coming in at $2.25 for a 16-oz jar (that’s $0.14/oz).
Not far behind based on price per oz, you’ll pay $1.25 for a 10-oz jar of peanut butter from Dollar Tree (or $0.13/oz).
7. Walmart just barely beats Dollar Tree on price for mixed nuts.
Sure, you could spend $1.25 on a 3.5-oz jar of mixed nuts at Dollar Tree and think you’re getting a good deal at $0.35/oz. But it’s just not the best price you can find; Walmart has a 27-oz jar of mixed nuts for $8.94, which comes out to $0.33/oz.
The size difference is pretty substantial with this comparison, so if you’re only needing a few ounces of nuts, it may be worth it to go with the smaller Dollar Tree jar. But to save 6%, go with the Walmart jar.
Meanwhile, don’t even bother going to Dollar General for mixed nuts. Their 10.3-oz can sells for $5.75, or $0.56/oz. That’s 41% more expensive than Walmart!
8. Dollar Tree olive oil is, surprisingly, 28% cheaper than at Walmart.
Dollar Tree‘s price on a 5.9-oz bottle of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is $1.25, which comes out to $0.21/oz. I was surprised to find out that Dollar Tree’s EVOO price is 28% cheaper than Walmart’s EVOO, which sells for $7.42 in a much-larger 25.2-oz bottle, and still comes out to a more-expensive $0.29/oz.
Also, never buy EVOO at Dollar General — you’ll pay $3.65 for an 8.5-oz bottle (or $0.43/oz), which is almost double the price of EVOO at Dollar Tree!
9. It’s almost a tie for the price of diced tomatoes with green chilis, so go with Walmart.
Dollar General prices the same 10-oz can of diced tomatoes with green chilis for $1.50, so no savings there.
All things equal, you’ll be better off getting Walmart’s higher-rated food products than at the dollar store.
10. Get Honey Nut Cheerios pouches from Dollar General for 20% less than at Dollar Tree.
Both dollar store food sections sell 3.5-oz pouches of Honey Nut Cheerios. The difference?
11. Walmart wins for canned chicken prices — they’re 15% – 34% cheaper than at dollar stores.
Canned chicken is one of those pantry staples you don’t want to spend a ton of money on. Absolutely don’t buy your canned chicken at Dollar General, where you’ll pay $4.35 for a 12.5-oz can ($0.35/oz).
Dollar Tree prices their canned chicken at $1.25 for a smaller 4.5-oz can, which comes out to a cheaper $0.27/oz.
But Walmart is the clear low-price winner for canned chicken; when you buy a two-pack of 12.5-oz cans for $5.98, you’ll only spend $0.23/oz.
12. Get granola bars at Walmart instead of Dollar Tree to pay 10% less per bar.
Dollar Tree sells a cute little four-pack of Nature Valley Crunchy Oats n’ Honey Granola Bars for $1.25, which comes out to $0.31/bar. It’s only $0.03 more expensive per bar than Walmart’s 12-pack of the same flavor of granola bars ($3.38, or $0.28/bar).
When you compare these prices to Dollar General — where you’ll pay $3.85 for a 6-pack ($0.64/bar) — you’ll see you’re getting a steal at either competitor store.
13. Black olives are 37% cheaper at Dollar Tree compared to Walmart.
Dollar Tree even beats Walmart, where black pitted olives are priced at $1.98 for a 6-oz can.