We Tried Dozens of Dollar General Brand Products — Here's What We'd Buy Again
Drop a pin anywhere on a map of the United States, and it'll likely land you near a Dollar General. In fact, Dollar General is on track to open 1,000 stores by the end of 2020, according to its third quarter earnings report. That's in addition to the more than 16,000 locations it already has, which is more than McDonald's in the U.S. and Walmart globally, according to NBC.
The chain has rural roots, with the first store opening in 1955 in Springfield, Kentucky. These rural beginnings have carried over into modern day. Today, most Dollar General stores are located in towns with populations of 20,000 or less, reports NBC. In other words, Dollar General has gone where other major retailers haven't, leading to its success as one of the leading discount grocery chains.
Private-label products have become a focus of the company, allowing them to control manufacturing and packaging, which allows consumers to pay less for their products. We tested dozens of products from Dollar General's private-label brands, and we've rounded up our favorites in both the kitchen pantry staples category and the snack food category. Read on for our review of Dollar General's private-label products.
Best Kitchen Pantry Staples from Dollar General
1. Clover Valley Hazelnut Single Serve Cups, 12 Ct.
For under five dollars, it really doesn't get cheaper than these single-serve coffee cups from Dollar General's Clover Valley brand. The hazelnut flavoring was nutty, sweet, and smooth, and fares well against more expensive brands. Get 12 cups of coffee for the price of one Starbucks latte — your wallet will thank you.
Buy It: Clover Valley Hazelnut Single Serve Cups, 12 Ct., $4.75; Dollar General
2. Good & Smart Freeze-Dried Strawberry Crisps
Light, crispy, tender — these were just a few of the adjectives used to describe these $1 strawberry crisps. They have a lot of flavor, and they're a great way to jazz up your morning cereal. One reviewer described them as, "more tender than other brands."
Buy It: Good & Smart Freeze-Dried Strawberry Crisps, $1; Dollar General
3. Good & Smart Whole Natural Almonds
Brand name almonds can run-up to $7 a bag, but at just under $3 you can get whole natural almonds from Dollar General. This is a serious game-changer for those like me who always like to have some nuts on hand for healthy snacking.
Buy It: Good & Smart Whole Natural Almonds,$2.95; Dollar General
4. Clover Valley Deluxe Macaroni and Cheese
Dinner is ready in a matter of minutes with this instant mac and cheese. Fans of Velveeta macaroni and cheese will love the classic, creamy cheese of this $1.50 meal. One reviewer said, "It's Velveeta — 100 percent. I would eat it all."
Buy It: Clover Valley Deluxe Macaroni and Cheese, $1.50; Dollar General
5. Clover Valley Chicken and Stars Condensed Soup
This condensed soup from Dollar General will cost you less than a dollar, and it's just as good as any other chicken noodle-style soup. The stars leave more to be desired, but the flavor of the broth makes up for it.
Buy It: Clover Valley Chicken and Stars Condensed Soup, $0.65; Dollar General
6. Clover Valley Creamy Peanut Butter
This kitchen pantry staple stood up to the competition. One reviewer described it as a "JIF knock off." And for just $1.50 per jar, you'll get more than you money's worth out of every PB&J you make using this.
Buy It: Clover Valley Creamy Peanut Butter 16 oz., $1.50; Dollar General
7. Clover Valley Whole Kernel Corn
If you think you can't find quality vegetables at the dollar store, think again. This canned corn is just as good as any other, and it can be used to make a variety of corn dishes.
Buy It: Clover Valley Whole Kernel Corn, $0.65; Dollar General
Best Snack Foods from Dollar General
1. Clover Valley Coconut Fudge and Caramel Cookies
Okay, Girl Scout cookie season is fast approaching, but in the meantime these cookies will hold you over. As a Samoa enthusiast myself, I was more than impressed by these copycat cookies that cost less than half the price of the original. It's toasted coconut and caramel goodness.
Buy It: Clover Valley Coconut Fudge and Caramel Cookies, $1.85; Dollar General
2. Good & Smart Blueberry Breakfast Biscuits
For an on-the-go breakfast or an anytime snack, this breakfast biscuit is a blueberry muffin in a bar. It received glowing reviews across the board: "Great blueberry flavor, light and crunchy," said one review. "Actually really good," said another. Nuff said.
Buy It: Good & Smart Blueberry Breakfast Biscuits, $2.50; Dollar General
3. Clover Valley Woven Wheats Baked Snack Crackers
I don't think I can say it any better than this enthusiastic reviewer: "It's Triscuit's delicious cousin." This version actually has a lot less salt than the brand name I grew up on — I'll only be buying the Dollar General kind from now on. It's the perfect companion for cheese... maybe a charcuterie board on a budget?
Buy It: Clover Valley Woven Wheats Baked Snack Crackers, $1.75; Dollar General
4. Good & Smart Potato Crisps Lightly Salted
Everyone agreed, these are pretty spot on Pringle copycats. And the Good & Smart line from Dollar General has no artificial flavors, no synthetic colors, and 0g trans fat.
Buy It: Good & Smart Potato Crisps Lightly Salted, $1.25; Dollar General
5. Clover Valley BBQ Potato Chips
I loved the flavor of these BBQ chips — sweet, tangy, without being overbearing. There's no reason to ever pay more for chips at your next barbecue.
Buy It: Clover Valley BBQ Potato Chips, $1; Dollar General
6. Clover Valley Chicken Flavored Snack Crackers
Some reviewers got very nostalgic at the taste of these chicken flavored crackers. "It tastes like and looks like Chicken in a Biskit," says one reviewer. If you know, you know.
Buy It: Clover Valley Chicken Flavored Snack Crackers, $1.50; Dollar General