Defense Commissary Agency
1300 E Avenue, Fort Lee, VA 23801-1800
Tel: (804) 734-8000, Ext. 8-6105 DSN: 687-8000, Ext. 8-6105
FAX: (804) 734-8248 DSN: 687-8248
Release Number: 25-14
Date: May 28, 2014
Contact: Kevin L. Robinson, public affairs specialist
Tel.: (804) 734-8000, Ext. 4-8773
Supporting healthy choices
DeCA program of highlighting ‘Better for You’ foods
to begin in the Fort Meade Commissary grocery section
By Rick Brink,
DeCA public affairs specialist
FORT LEE, Va. – What does it take to make commissary shopping easier for today’s health-conscious shoppers, who welcome any relief from the arduous task of reading product label after product label trying to make healthy selections?
They’re about to find out at the Fort Meade Commissary, Md., where the Defense Commissary Agency is helping its patrons stay fit and healthy – a big part of military life – through the food choices they make.
“We’re creating a gluten-free section and rearranging some of the Fort Meade grocery department lineup to make it easier to spot the ‘Better for You’ products, as well as organic/natural product offerings that we’ve had in our commissaries worldwide for many years,” said Randy Chandler, DeCA’s director of sales.
The Fort Meade product rearrangement is expected to be complete in July. Commissaries have led the way in providing healthy choices that promote both troop and family readiness for years, Chandler added.
This latest initiative will be an integral part of the Agency’s continued support of DOD’s Healthy Base Initiative. Plans are to roll out similar arrangements later this year to commissaries at Fort Bragg, N.C., Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., and March Air Reserve Base, Calif. HBI is a year-long demonstration project under the Defense Department’s Operation Live Well program to improve the health and wellness of service members and their families.
Chandler used two words, “integrate and segregate,” to describe the effort. Its purpose is to make it easier to spot products lower in calories, which are the primary BFY criteria. The agency uses lower calorie criteria established by the Hudson Institute, an independent policy research organization, whose standards have been incorporated into HBI. Two other criteria are included: sugar is less than 10 grams per serving in breakfast cereals, and saturated fat in any product is less than seven grams per serving.
“Better For You” items are integrated in the products customers see as they course down the aisles. Our new product arrangement will segregate them out of the mix so that customers can easily identify them,” Chandler said. “Go down the cereal aisle, and there will be the BFY products alongside the other cereal selections. That scenario will repeat itself down the aisles of other food products where applicable.”
Displays of BFY products at the ends of aisles and at the checkout stands are also in the mix as ways to increase customer awareness, which is also part of the agency’s effort, according to Army Col. Michael Buley, DeCA’s director of public health and safety who serves as the agency’s HBI liaison.
“Shoppers generally know about the health benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables,” Buley said. “We’ve always been a popular fresh produce purveyor, and increasing produce sales is one of our goals along with growing our Better For You segment, so our objectives already lined up nicely with HBI.”
Rogers Campbell, executive director of the agency’s Sales, Marketing and Policy Group, noted that the effort involves input from sources inside and outside of DeCA. DeCA’s industry partners, are providing product merchandising expertise, while, through HBI, the agency is tapping the expertise of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab.
“We’re drawing on the best that the grocery industry has to offer to make commissary shopping fit the needs of our patron base, and being physically fit and healthy is a major component of military service,” said Campbell, who served in the Army. “As the provider of the commissary benefit DeCA is taking the initiative through this effort to help make it easier for our patrons to reach their health and fitness goals.”
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. Authorized patrons purchase items at cost plus a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. By shopping regularly in the commissary, patrons save an average of 30 percent or more on their purchases compared to commercial prices – savings amounting to thousands of dollars annually. 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.
Stay Connected to Your Commissary Benefit
COMMISSARIES.COM: Visit www.commissaries.com to learn more about the Defense Commissary Agency: check out the latest news, find a store near you, see what’s on sale, create a shopping list, learn of food and product recalls, scan employment opportunities, read frequently asked questions, submit a customer comment form online through DeCA’s Your Action Line and more.
COMMISSARY CONNECTION: Stay connected with the latest news about your most valued benefit, Hot Links to additional savings, shopping sprees, contests, commissary promotions, events and more, go to www.commissaries.com/subscribe.cfmwww.facebook.com/YourCommissary, DeCA’s Facebook page, where you can post comments and share news, photos and videos.
YOUTUBE: To see DeCA’s latest videos, visit www.youtube.com/DefenseCommissary.
TWITTER: To see DeCA’s latest “tweets,” visit www.twitter.com/YourCommissary.
FLICKR: To see DeCA’s latest photographs, visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/commissary/.
MILPAGES: To see news about DeCA on this forum for members of the U.S. military, their families and supporters, visit www.milpages.com/pages/defense-commissary-agency/.