The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) is planning to rearrange products in a handful of stores in an effort to highlight healthier foods that meet a "better for you" set of qualifications. They also plan to add a separate "gluten free" section.
Right now it's hard to tell just by looking at the selection of product options which are healthier than others. Even an "organic" label doesn't guarantee a lower sugar or saturated fat content.
That's where the new arrangement comes in. Commissary officials plan to put in place an "integrate and segregate" system where shoppers can easily identify the healthier choice while looking in the same section they've always visited for a specific product. In the cereal aisles, for example, the agency will place a similar but lower sugar cereal option next to the higher sugar counterpart.
The agency came up with the guidelines for the healthier highlights by using the standards from the Hudson Institute, an independent policy research organization. Those standards are also being used by the Defense Department for their Healthier Base Initiative.
The criteria include that sugar is less than 10 grams per serving in breakfast cereal and that saturated fat in an product is less than seven grams per serving.
The agency will also be replacing some of the snack and junk food check out displays with the healthier options.
"We're drawing on the best that the grocery industry has to offer to make commissary shopping fit the needs of our patron base, and being physically fit and healthy is a major component of military service," said Rogers Campbell, executive director of the agency's Sales, Marketing and Policy Group. "As the provider of the commissary benefit, DeCA is taking the initiative through this effort to help make it easier for our patrons to reach their health and fitness goals."
The rearrangement is being done as a pilot "demonstration project" at a hand full of stores for the next year. Officials plan to exapnd it eventually, but don't yet have a set timeline in place.
You'll be able to see the new arrangement at Fort Meade, Md., Fort Bragg, N.C., Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. and March Air Resrve Base, Calif. by the end of the year.