Are Dollar Tree Foods Better Than Name Brand Foods? Let the Kiddos Decide!
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Is Dollar Tree food as good as name-brand food? The results are in!
Ever wonder if the cheaper and less popular food brands at Dollar Tree taste just as good as their widely-known competitors? Just because the big brands are pricier doesn’t necessarily mean they taste better.
In search of the yummiest versions of a few popular foods, my kiddos and I went on a Dollar Tree food sweep to see how the budget-friendly brand items stood up against the same name-brand items from the grocery store.
For each brand comparison, my kids did a blind tasting and also weighed in on which item looked more appetizing at first glance. Of course, they’d never turn down a pop tart or cookie of any brand, but I was quite surprised by their feedback during our Dollar Tree food comparison test.
Here’s what we tested:
1. Mott’s Applesauce vs. Dollar Tree Applesnax Applesauce
Applesauce is one of the most popular lunch box staples but is Mott’s brand the best brand? After just two bites, there was a clear winner amongst the popular brand and its Dollar Tree rival. The applesauce was identical in color, but Mott’s had a slightly thicker, more desirable consistency.
Taste-test winner: Mott’s 🏆
Applesauce is one Dollar Tree food item that we probably won’t buy again and the unit price difference is only a mere 8¢. Price tags aside, the Dollar Tree applesauce wasn’t as sweet and “appley-tasting” (in the words of a 6-year old) as the Mott’s timeless classic.
2. Tyson Chicken Nuggets vs. Dollar Tree Earth’s Best Chicken Nuggets
My kids have had enough chicken nuggets to know when one doesn’t taste very good and that was, unfortunately, the case during our chicken nugget taste-test as the Dollar Tree brand didn’t even come close to the popular Tyson brand.
Taste-test winner: Tyson 🏆
After two bites of the Dollar Tree chicken nuggets, my kids had already had enough and asked if they could just eat the Tyson chicken nuggets. The Dollar Tree food version wasn’t as flavorful as Tyson and the nuggets were substantially smaller and darker in color. My kids even asked if they were burnt.
3. Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts vs. Dollar Tree Toast ‘Em Pop-Ups
I honestly didn’t think any brand could stand up against Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts that retail for $2.99 at most grocery stores, but the Dollar Tree food version did not disappoint in taste or appearance.
Taste-test winner: Dollar Tree Toast’Em Pop-Ups 🏆
The Dollar Tree frosted strawberry pop-tarts had more frosting and sprinkles than the Kellogg’s brand, making it look much more appealing and after a few bites of each pop-tart, the Dollar Tree version seemed to have a lot more strawberry filling inside. Go Dollar Tree!
4. Cheez-Its vs. Dollar Tree Baker’s Harvest Cheese Crackers
My kids love Cheez-Its SO much that I have to keep them on the top pantry shelf that they can’t reach, so I was quite eager to find out if I could stock up on their favorite crackers at a fraction of the cost with the Dollar Tree version opposed to the $2.69 price point of the Cheez-It brand.
At first glance, the only difference between the two different crackers was the color, as the Cheez-Its were slightly darker than the Baker’s Harvest crackers.
Taste-test winner: Dollar Tree Baker’s Harvest 🏆
My kiddos both agreed that the Dollar Tree crackers tasted almost exactly the same as the Cheez-Its brand. If your kids go through snack crackers like crazy, just imagine how much money you’ll save over time when you go with the $1 version!
5. Smuckers Strawberry Preserves vs. Dollar Tree Frutessa Strawberry Preserves
Smucker’s is the go-to PB&J ingredient that many of us have probably been using for years, but after our Dollar Tree food comparison, we’ll be saying buh-bye to the popular brand and opting for the more affordable Dollar Tree brand.
Taste-test winner: Dollar Tree Frutessa 🏆
While the Smuckers Strawberry Preserves had more of an actual preserve consistency than the Dollar Tree brand, my kids and I both agreed that Smuckers just didn’t taste as good and it was actually harder to spread on a piece of bread. The Dollar Tree version had a bolder fruit flavor and even a more pleasing aftertaste.
6. Totino’s Pizza Rolls vs. Dollar Tree Michelina’s Pizza Snack Rolls
My kids don’t eat pizza rolls very often, so I was pretty curious how they would compare the popular Totino’s brand to the Dollar Tree brand. The pizza rolls looked slightly different on the outside and even on the inside once bitten into.
Taste-test winner: Totino’s 🏆
This was another Dollar Tree food item that my kiddos didn’t even care to finish eating. While the lesser-known brand is less than half the price of the Totino’s brand, my kids said they didn’t have as good of a pizza flavor inside and were also a bit harder and chewier.
7. Jif Peanut Butter vs. Dollar Tree Nature’s House Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is one of those food items that’s impossible to mess up, or so I thought. While the Dollar Tree food brand wasn’t necessarily bad, it wasn’t nearly as good as Jif even though the ingredients are literally identical.
Taste-test winner: Jif 🏆
I had to weigh in on this taste-test because I’m a bit of a peanut butter fanatic, but my kids were pretty spot-on with their thoughts on the two brands. The Dollar Tree version had a lot of oil sitting at the top and it was quite messy stirring it all in because it was so thick. It also had more of an artificial taste than Jif and we weren’t a big fan.
8. Nabisco Wheat Thins vs. Dollar Tree Baker’s Harvest Thin Wheat Crackers
Is $2.39 worth a 9.1 oz. box of Nabisco Wheat Thins when you can get a 7 oz. box for just $1? I’ve always thought the generic wheat thins from my local grocery store tasted just as good as the name brand, but does the $1 version taste good, too?
Taste-test winner: Dollar Tree Baker’s Harvest 🏆
There was a noticeable difference between the two cracker brands as the Dollar Tree thin wheat crackers looked a lot darker than Nabisco Wheat Thins. My kids asked if they were burnt at first, but after tasting both brands, the Dollar Tree crackers took the cake for better flavor and saltiness.
9. Keebler Fudge Stripes vs. Dollar Tree Oven Baked Fudge Striped Shortbread
Although it’s pretty obvious that the Keebler Fudge Stripes are the prettier cookie, looks can be deceiving and that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the tastier cookie. Before my son tasted each (and without knowing which one was which), he said the Keebler Fudge Stripes looked way better and probably tasted better too.
Taste-test winner: Dollar Tree Oven Baked 🏆
To my surprise, both of my kids were big fans of the Dollar Tree food brand cookies. The $1 cookies had a stronger vanilla-like flavor and the chocolate tasted richer compared to the Keebler brand.
10. Quaker Chewy Granola Bars vs. Dollar Tree Select Choice Bars
Another popular lunchbox staple that kids love gobbling up! Quaker’s Chewy Smore’s Granola Bars typically retail for $2.49 per 8-count box while the Dollar Tree food brand comes with 6 bars per $1 box. After inspecting the two different granola bars, the Chewy bars appeared to have fewer marshmallow pieces, but that might vary depending on each individual bar.
Taste-test winner: A tie! 🏆
My kids thought the granola bars tasted EXACTLY the same, but we had to give Dollar Tree big props for creating a yummy granola bar that tastes no different than the popular and pricier brand.
Don’t underestimate budget-friendly Dollar Tree food.
If you’re like me, maybe you assumed that the majority of Dollar Tree food items are poor quality and not very tasty. However, I seemed to have judged Dollar Tree a little too soon and was quite happy to discover flavorful and more affordable snacks that my kids enjoy!
Prefer to make your own snacks? Check out our yummy snack recipes here!