New era begins for the benefit
Commissary brands hit stateside shelves, beginning to flow overseas
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FORT LEE, Va. (July 17, 2017) – The era of the commissary brand has started with private label products now on stateside shelves and beginning to flow to overseas stores.
"There's a lot of attention on the savings private label products can provide," said Chris Burns, the Defense Commissary Agency's executive director for business transformation. "Our patrons have seen these products in other stores, and they've overwhelmingly asked us to carry store brands. Well, now they can see these products at their commissary."
Varieties of commissary brand products will differ from store to store depending on store size and location – shipping times overseas are about six weeks behind the states. Some stores overseas have started receiving commissary brands, and all are on pace to receive their initial inventory no later than the latter part of July.
To date, all stateside commissaries, including Alaska and Hawaii, are selling HomeBase kitchen and trash bags and TopCare products such as first aid supplies, vitamins, over-the-counter medications and beauty care. Top Care is a store brand available at many retailers and supplied to commissaries by Topco Associates through an agreement with SpartanNash.
All stateside stores, except for those in Alaska and Hawaii, are selling Freedom's Choice bottled water. The increased cost to ship bottled water from the continental U.S. to Alaska and Hawaii will delay Freedom's Choice water in those states while SpartanNash develops a partnership with local sources. Appropriated funding for shipments to Alaska and Hawaii are not included in DeCA's transportation budget.
Stores in Europe will not receive Freedom's Choice bottled water because DeCA will continue receiving water supplied by AAFES' water packaging operation in Germany and other local sources.
Burns emphasized that DeCA's goal is for its commissary brand products to be equal to or lower in price compared to commercial grocery store brands. "Our patrons can be confident that our products will provide the quality they expect and the savings they deserve."
Store brand products, also known as private label, are offered by retailers under their own, in-house brand or under a brand developed by their suppliers. Retailers are able to do this by working directly with suppliers.
DeCA is partnering with SpartanNash to develop the agency's commissary brands. SpartanNash, through its military division MDV, is the leading distributor of grocery products to military commissaries in the United States.
Over the next three to four years, patrons will see the gradual rollout of Freedom's Choice, HomeBase and TopCare products in their commissaries as DeCA plans to increase commissary brand inventory to about 4,000 items.
Burns said DeCA is planning with SpartanNash on the next wave of commissary brand items such as rice and dry beans, foam and plastic plates, shelf stable juices, water enhancers and powdered soft drinks, and paper towels and bath tissue in the fall.
"Our commissary brands offer our patrons another way to save money, without sacrificing quality" Burns said.
Learn more about DeCA's new commissary brands.
About DeCA: The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. Commissaries provide a military benefit and make no profit on the sale of merchandise. Authorized patrons save thousands of dollars annually on their purchases compared to commercial prices when shopping regularly at a commissary. The discounted prices include a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America's military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.
Kevin L. Robinson
(804) 734-8000, Ext. 4-8773