There are certainly plenty of pros to shopping at Dollar Tree—first and foremost, the prices. Even though the discount chain is now charging $1.25 for most items, Dollar Tree is still a great place to shop if you're trying to save. But if you're heading to these stores for your groceries, there are some products that you'll want to avoid buying, even if you're tempted by the price tag. Read on to find out what one Dollar Tree shopper says you should leave on the shelf, and what you should pick up instead.
READ THIS NEXT: The 7 Worst Things to Buy at Dollar Tree.
Dollar Tree products have faced ongoing criticism.
Certain Dollar Tree products have been flagged as harmful in the past. In April, the retailer recalled over 1 million glue guns. According to an announcement from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the affected products could malfunction once plugged in, creating a serious burn hazard and fire risk. At the time of the recall, Dollar Tree had received seven reports of electrical malfunctions, including four fires.
In May, a new report found that several products sold at dollar stores contain harmful chemicals. Researchers from the Ecology Center Healthy Stuff Lab tested over 200 products sold at these stores, concluding that 53 percent of all products contained at least one concerning chemical. Dollar Tree had the most products with toxic chemicals, including a total of 87 products such as cooking pans, toys, and even purchase receipts. The report, which was commissioned by the Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform and Coming Clean, Inc., also noted food products that contained hazardous chemicals.
Now, one shopper is highlighting additional foods you should avoid at Dollar Tree. This time, you don't need toxin testing—just take a look at the label.
A series of videos highlights products to avoid.
If you've ever wondered if the prices at Dollar Tree at too good to be true, you may be onto something with a few of the items. TikTok user Sarah, who goes by the handle @sensationalfinds, has an entire series on products you should skip at Dollar Tree, including different foods.
In a video posted on Aug. 30, the social media user highlights several products "you need to stop buying if you are."
You'll want to skip Breckenridge Farms Cheddar Style Shreds, she says, as the packaging is particularly misleading—considering it's not real cheese. "If you think this is real cheese, then you are sadly mistaken," she explains. "Nowhere on the packaging does it say cheese because it's actually just a cheese product. It's a little bit of cheese and a whole lot of filler."
In a similar video posted on July 8, she notes that the same goes for Risparmio Grated Topping, where Parmesan cheese is actually listed as the twelfth ingredient out of 13. "If it doesn't say cheese [on the label], then it's not Parmesan cheese, and we do not need to be buying it," she says.
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Certain sauces and spreads should also be avoided.
The TikToker advises against buying Pampa Blend of Soybean and Virgin Olive Oil, which again, doesn't contain exactly what's advertised.
"It's made to look like it's extra virgin olive oil, but it's really 95 percent soybean oil, and it contains GMOs," she says in the Aug. 30 video.
Also on her list of n0-go buys are High Five Premium Blended Honey Flavored Syrup, which she states is corn syrup mixed with honey; Supreme Tradition Imitation Vanilla Extract, which has no vanilla in it; Pampa fruit spreads that are "pure sugar"; and Pantry Basix Soy Sauce, which she notes is "watered down."
She provides alternative options.
If you've bought any of these products or regularly stock them in your pantry, you might be wondering what you should purchase instead. Luckily, the TikToker has recommendations there as well, including options that are more nutritious and offer a better deal overall.
For those who are committed to shopping at Dollar Tree, she recommends grabbing Bakersfield Pure Vanilla Extract, Gourmet Empire Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and the Utopia Butter Flavored Pancake Syrup—which doesn't have any high fructose corn syrup.
You can also opt for Colonna Grated Parmesan Cheese at Dollar Tree, which actually lists parmesan cheese as the first ingredient. When it comes to cheddar, however, she recommends heading to an affordable grocery store like Aldi, where you can purchase a block of cheddar for $1.69.