DeCA patrons are embracing the value, extra savings of the agency’s private label products

by Kevin L. Robinson
DeCA Public Affairs

FORT LEE, Va. – It’s been two years since the Defense Commissary Agency introduced its private label program, and a growing number of patrons are taking advantage of the products’ extra savings and value, said the DOD special assistant for commissary operations.

“Our sales data tells us that our patrons are increasing their purchases of our private label products,” said retired Rear Adm. Robert J. Bianchi. “Like consumers of grocery retail at large, our patrons see the value of our high- quality, low-cost alternatives, and we will continue to look for opportunities to market the quality of our store-branded products.”

Commissary brands are sold under seven names: Freedom’s Choice (food items) and HomeBase (non-food items); along with TopCare (health and beauty), Full Circle Market (natural and organic food options), Tippy Toes (baby products), Flock’s Finest (wild bird food for hopper, tube or platform feeders); and Pure Harmony (high quality pet food that provides grain-free options using meat, poultry or fish as the first ingredient. TopCare, Tippy Toes, Full Circle Market, Flock’s Finest and Pure Harmony are not exclusive to DeCA.

DeCA’s top-selling commissary brand items are Freedom’s Choice water, shredded cheese, frozen vegetables, shelf stable vegetables and frozen fruit, said Jennifer Ferrell, the agency’s private label program manager.

Patrons can experience even deeper savings on products through current and upcoming summer promotions, she said.

“We are excited to work with our industry partners to offer a coupon opportunity with our HomeBase items running through Aug. 4 and look forward to expanding this program,” Ferrell said. “We will also have some amazing savings on our 24-pack purified water in this promotion. Our upcoming fall commissary brands promotion will offer our patrons significant savings on over 150 store brand items. Patrons can look forward to hearing more about this exciting promotion soon.”

Commissary patrons can also look forward to the following new private label products in the next few months: shrimp, ice cream, cleaners and dish detergents, dry cat food, dog treats, organic cheese, cheese cubes, cheese snack packs, canned and bagged coffee, pizza and pasta sauce, pasta and Everything Bagel Spice.

“Our program is still in the early stages of development and we look forward to growing to a mature program,” Ferrell said. “We’re always looking to explore new innovation and ways to expand our existing categories.

Since being introduced in the spring of 2017, DeCA has added nearly 770 commissary brand items to store shelves. Another 127 products are expected to be added to the inventory before the year is out.

DeCA’s private label offerings do not take away from its savings on national brands, Bianchi said. However, private label brands present another option for extra savings similar to what mainstream grocery retailers have offered for years. 

“We know that private label is an inherent part of the retail eco system – it’s in every grocer, and a major contributor to their sales and selection of items – over 30% in some cases,” Bianchi said. “We know our patrons want to buy private label, so if they’re going to buy it, I want them to buy it from us.”

As DeCA continues with its roll out of commissary brands, the agency wants to hear from patrons about the types of products they want in their stores. Patrons who want to offer their feedback on the items they want in their commissary brand inventory can do so by emailing decabrand@deca.mil.

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