Using commissary benefits saved military shoppers 25 percent on their food bills in fiscal year 2020.
That’s according to the latest saving report of the Defense Commissary Agency, which compares the prices at the commissary with those of retailers at off-base locations. When it comes to delivering the commissary benefit, the savings are what it's all about for Bill Moore, DeCA’s director and CEO.
“To me, it’s all about the benefit; how do we deliver the 23.7 percent savings our Congress mandated,” explained Bill Moore, DeCA’s CEO and director in a release. “The analogy I like to use is for every dollar spent in the commissary, you have roughly saved yourself a quarter compared to what you would have spent outside the commissary."
He said across the agency, if DeCA has $4 billion in revenue, that means it has saved its customers around the globe $1 billion on their grocery bills with the 25 percent savings it achieved in 2020.
Congress mandates that DeCA maintain its global savings at levels reasonably consistent with the fiscal 2016 baseline of 23.7 percent.
“I am confident in the way we measure, the savings are real,” Moore added. “I do believe we need to better educate our eligible patrons on the savings and then we have to earn their trust. I want to show them how we calculate and develop those savings, and then let them reach their own conclusions.”
The customer savings reflects DeCA’s partnership with industry partners to offer eligible shoppers the lowest prices possible through cost savings programs and the sale of private label products.
“Every grocery chain offers private label items, and it’s an option our patrons expect in their commissaries,” Moore said.
The customer savings report also shows figures specific to each geographic area, indicating how much, on average, a patron could expect to save on grocery purchases in comparison with local grocers in that area.
The agency also checks local prices at major retailers near commissaries each quarter to see how DeCA pricing compares in order to ensure that its customers are saving money when they shop at their commissary.
DeCA also compares prices with commercial grocers, including at least one supercenter, in the local area of each commissary in the United States. That comparison measures 38,000 items at a regional level and local prices of about 1,000 products, which are representative of a shopper’s typical market basket.
“It is all about the benefit,” Moore said. “I do believe the savings make a significant difference to our customers’ quality of life.”
Reach Julia LeDoux at Julia@connectingvets.com
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