Get set to enjoy a lower food bill when you use your commissary benefit.
Service members and their families will soon see a 3-5 percent decrease in pricing on most grocery items in their commissaries as part of a Department of Defense initiative to bolster the economic security and stability of the military community.
DoD’s “Taking Care of Service Members and Families” initiative lays out comprehensive actions to support military members struggling with the financial impacts of inflation, supply chain disruptions, and the pandemic, according to a Defense Commissary Agency release.
“The Department’s added investment in our budget allows us to reduce commissary prices at the register about 3-5 percent on most items – particularly on food staples that struggling military families need most such as bread, eggs, milk, and more,” said DeCA Director and CEO Bill Moore. “With this boost, we can achieve at least 25 percent in overall savings for eligible patrons who shop their commissaries.”
Commissary customers are expected to see price changes at most locations by mid-October. Pricing on some products and categories will vary.
DeCA was able to provide service members and their families with discounted groceries that cost on average 22 percent less than civilian grocery stores for the fiscal year 2022 before the additional funding, according to the release.
“Going forward with the Department’s initiatives, we want to sustain the increased savings through fiscal year 2023 and exceed the 25 percent benchmark to the extent our resources allow,” Moore said.
“Taking Care of Service Members and Families” was announced in November 2021 when the DoD unveiled its “Military Leader's Economic Security Toolkit” on Military OneSource. The webpage is a central landing spot to help leaders connect service members and their families with the resources they need to help boost their economic readiness.
The commissary benefit portion of the economic toolkit is spotlighted on the DeCA website, specifically on its “We’re Stronger Together” page that links military members to the following patron savings and nutritious options.
DeCA is also expanding efforts to ensure all eligible patrons know about their benefit, particularly targeting the millions of disabled veterans who became eligible for the benefit in January 2020, said Marine Sgt. Maj. Michael Saucedo, senior enlisted advisor to the DeCA director.
“We are working closely with veterans’ groups to reach our disabled veterans and with the active duty military to increase awareness of the benefit to troops earlier in their careers,” he said.
Commissaries are also pushing out more initiatives to include the following to help boost the benefit for eligible patrons:
Expanding hours of operation and using technology to improve access in more convenient ways than ever before. To date, 56 stores have converted from six- to seven-day operations, seven stores have converted from five- to six-day operations and 43 stores have adjusted hours to better fit the shopping preferences of their communities.
Working with installations on piloting bulk deliveries to barracks or other specified locations with future plans to expand.
Expanding online shopping and curbside pickup with online payment now available at all stores
Piloting home grocery delivery at eight locations in the United States, with agency-wide expansion planned soon thereafter.
“We are a food security resource for our customers, and as such, we are doing everything we can to get our precious military families the products they need – at the lowest price possible,” Moore added.
Reach Julia LeDoux at Julia@connectingvets.com.