New in 2017: Military Commissaries Will Shake Up Grocery Prices

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2017 “…brings fundamental changes to the military commissary benefit as Defense Department officials test price changes on some groceries in an effort to offset the $1.4 billion it costs to operate the stores each year.

Commissaries currently sell products at cost, plus a 5 percent surcharge. And while officials contend the taxpayer subsidy can be reduced without affecting customers’ bottom-line savings, the National Military Family Association says it remains “skeptical that the Defense Commissary Agency has the expertise to implement these changes while still preserving the savings military families rely on.”

Pilot programs expected to start at the end of January or in early February will use two approaches: one focused on grocery item categories, the other on store locations.

Officials are negotiating with suppliers to lower prices on about 8,000 items that the commissaries, in turn, will mark up, using the additional revenue to pay for operating costs.”

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