Dan Dalton / Getty Images

The cheaper alternative to traditional grocery stores will open in food deserts. 

Elisabeth Sherman
March 08, 2018

Looking for a more affordable alternative to Amazon-acquired Whole Foods, especially areas where there are few grocery store options? The Salvation Army has the solution: A new chain called DMG Foods (which stands for the organization’s motto, Doing the Most Good).

Baltimore is now home to the chain’s first location, where it will be able to serve as many as 1,200 families who had previously been cut off from the fresh food offered at grocery stores. As Grubstreet reports, DMG Foods is being called the first “nonprofit grocery chain.” Salvation Army promises to provide customers with a “healthier, smarter, cheaper” grocery store option in food deserts, places where the majority of population lives more than a mile away from a grocery store.

DMG Foods will be much smaller than the typical grocery store, at around 7,000 square feet, but having the cheaper option available to low income people on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) means that they may be able to double the amount of food they would normally purchase.

Just because DMG Foods is being touted as a cheaper grocery store alternative doesn't mean that the company plans to skimp on the essentials: Salvation Army partnered with the Maryland Food Bank to provide pre-made salads, there’s a butcher on site, and even cooking demonstrations, which aim to teach customers healthier recipes. The store’s own food brand is called Best Yet, but the shelves will also be stocked with more familiar national brands.

Twitter posts from the store’s first day of business show crowds gathering in the aisles to celebrate the grand opening. DMG Foods is a refreshing take on all the ways companies are trying to reimagine the grocery store—including one from Amazon that doesn’t even have cashiers—and one that serves communities in need with the food they need to keep their families healthy.