Saving Cents: Get cheap groceries at the dented can store


by By Sherry Williams / 11 News

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:23 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 9 at 3:12 PM

HOUSTON-There are grocery stores in Houston that sell "salvaged" foods to the public at prices that are 50- to 60-percent lower than at major grocery stores.

Saving Cents
11 News video
July 27, 2009

The foods are bought from wholesalers, distributors and manufacturers.

They're sold at stores that go by names like "Discount Grocer," " Damaged Freight Groceries" or "SalvageGrocery Stores" and are commonly called "dented can stores." Their inventory has been rejected by traditional grocery stores, typically because of damage to packaging, or because the items are not selling quickly at regular grocery stores. Some of the items are past the expiration date on the packaging.

"If you've got an item that's say, a year out of date and let's say it's frozen and been frozen, never been moved, sat in the same cold storage house all this time. There's nothing wrong with that product," said Jim Meador, Owner of Houston Discount Sales on Little York. Also, some dry goods have a shelf life of more than two years, so there is nothing wrong with the item if it is a month past the stamped expiration date, Meador said.

For frozen items, he said, commercial packaging prevents freezer burn. Meador said his store is licensed by the State of Texas to handle so-called "salvage groceries," and he says the state health department routinely inspects his inventory and brands it safe for consumption. Jim Meador has been in the salvage grocery business for 25 years.

He said stores like his are a great outlet for items like dented canned goods, because even the food bank will not accept foods in damaged packages. Meador said common sense dictates if food in a dented can is good for consumption. For instance, he said, if the can is leaking, do not eat the food in it.

Many of the foods at Houston Discount Sales, like dairy products and meats, have not reached their expiration dates. Among the offerings were some unusual foods, like frog legs and Vince Young sausages.

Here is a list of dented can or salvage grocery stores we found in the Houston area:

Houston Discount Sales

101 Little York at Airline

(713) 691-3586

Capital Sales Damaged Freight Groceries

5701 Almeda

(713) 522-0285

Capital Sales Damaged Freight Groceries

4663 Telephone Road

(713) 649-8658

Jimmy Poole Grocery

11658 Homestead Road

(281) 442-0512