Private Label Brands Coming to Commissaries

Commissary customers worldwide will start seeing private label products on their stores’ shelves in May 2017, with an initial assortment of about 400 items, officials announced today. 

Defense Commissary Agency officials announced they have selected MDV SpartanNash, a long-time distributor of products to commissaries and exchanges, to supply the private label products to commissaries.  They conducted “a rigorous selection process” to identify the supplier for the products, according to the announcement. 

Private label products are sometimes referred to as “generic” products, usually costing less than national name brands.  Many other grocer retailers offer private-label products, sold under their own, in-house brand or under a brand developed by their suppliers.  That includes the military exchanges, who have developed their own lines of private label products.

Over the next few months the commissary agency will work with SpartanNash to decide on an initial assortment.  That assortment of about 400 items will be available to commissaries worldwide in May 2017 and will continue to grow to about 1,000 items by the end of 2017, officials said.  Over the next two years, they’ll add more products.

“Our customers have been asking for private label for a long time,” said Joseph Jeu, DeCA’s director and CEO, in the announcement.  He cited a DeCA patron survey in which 60 percent of respondents said they would like to see commissaries offer private label products.

“They are smart, savvy shoppers who know that private label products are cost-effective alternatives to national brands,” Jeu said.  “We’re excited to help them save more at our commissaries.”

 NAUS Note:  One of our NAUS-priorities is to assure that commissaries preserve the value of the benefit, which essentially is the savings customers see when they shop.  The final bill directs several reforms that include changes to funding mechanisms, commissary variable pricing, and introducing private label products.  Whether the reforms made in the final defense policy bill maintain patron benefits remains in question, especially when these changes are made without thorough testing or a deliberative process to assess their viability before full deployment. 

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