Salad Shake-Up at Commissaries in Europe


If you are stationed north of the Alps in Europe you're about to see some changes in the produce section that could change prices and increase freshness.

A few weeks ago we reported that the commissary in Asia would likely no longer be stocking a large selection of produce shipped from stateside -- a move that would save the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) over $30 million a year and likely amp up the freshness of what is sold.

Now 25 of the commissaries in Europe that currently stock Fresh Express bagged salad are making a change as well. Instead of shipping that product from the US they are going to increase the amount of bagged salad they carry sourced from Europe.

The result could be price changes. And even if prices remain the same, the value of the salad could go up since it's likely to stay fresh in your fridge longer because it wasn't shipped from a different continent.

“It’s based on an overall market analysis evaluation,” Norman Brown, the DeCA Europe Area director said in a press release. “Product freshness and product availability are key considerations for bagged salads, and the switchover to local suppliers will give our customers the freshness and availability they expect.”

Unlike the contract with the fruits and vegetables supplier for commissaries in Asia, the contractor for the bagged salad in Europe was already paying the cost of shipping the food out of pocket. That means there won't be any significant savings to DeCA for no longer bringing in US bagged salad. The savings really does seem to go primarily to the shopper.

The change could also be a good thing for single service members who may not want to buy the large packages Fresh Express sold. No longer carrying that brand means they will be increasing their selection of the local brand, Florette, which has smaller packages.

"We are really excited about the fact that Florette line has smaller packaging sizing that will allow us to serve our single military members more effectively," said Rick Brink, a DeCA Europe Area spokesman.

Variety will also increase under the new change with items increasing from 27 to 38, he said.

And as for price, DeCA officials said it will go up "slightly" under the new plan thanks to "local currency fluctuations." But just how much is unclear.

And in a very small sampling a friend of SpouseBuzz did for us, the Florette brand appears to currently be cheaper. A 141 gram bag of Fresh Express baby kale was recently $3.19 at US Army Garrison Kaiserslautern, Germany, compared to the 150 gram Florette "Gourmet-salat" blend fir $1.66.


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