The next wave of commissary store brands, including cheese, rice and dry beans, foam and plastic plates, shelf-stable juices, water enhancers and powdered soft drinks, paper towels and bath tissue, have arrived at stateside commissaries.
The Defense Commissary Agency and its private label supplier, SpartanNash, continue to work on expanding these low-cost, national brand equivalents for patrons, said Chris Burns, DeCA’s executive director of business transformation.
“When we first introduced our commissary store brands, we promised our patrons we would gradually roll out a vibrant variety of low-cost, quality equivalents to national brands,” Burns said. “By the end of the year, we will have over 400 brand products available.”
One product, in particular, cheese, is currently on shelves in about 90 stateside stores, with the balance of stores in the continental U.S. receiving store brand cheese after the holidays.
Over the next three to four years, DeCA is gradually rolling out commissary store brands to increase its private label inventory to about 3,000 to 4,000 items.
Commissary store brands have increasingly ended up in patron shopping carts since the products debuted in May, Burns said.
“In good times and bad, the commissary is here to support our patrons,” he said. “They saw pallet after pallet of Freedom’s Choice water available to help our shoppers during the recent hurricanes in places such as Texas Florida and Puerto Rico.”
Burns also pointed to bottles of Freedom’s Choice supplied to thousands attending the July 22 commissioning ceremony of the USS Gerald R. Ford at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia. And the water was also supplied to help keep wounded warrior athletes hydrated and cool in late June and early July during the Warrior Games in Chicago.
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.
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. What does not vary is the savings and quality that commissary store brands bring to store shelves, Burns said.
“Our patrons can be confident that our products will provide the quality they expect and the savings they deserve,” he said. “As we roll out more and more products our goal will always be for our commissary brand products to be equal to or lower in price compared to commercial grocery store brands.”