Price is in the eye of the beholder, as they say. Actually, I just made that up. Price is on the sticker. The sticker displays the price but you may think it is high. Think again. We recognize there is a perception that prices on some items at the stores you mentioned may be cheaper. In many cases, grocers outside the gate lower prices on certain goods, known as loss leaders, to entice shoppers inside their store where more expensive items await. It’s understandable to see these items and wonder if the value is still there for your commissary benefit. But we know the benefit still has tremendous value based on our most recent price comparison survey, where overall commissary savings is nearly 24 percent next to commercial retailers.
It’s not everything that you see. Logistics are not a perfect science. There are many moving parts and many unknown variables. Moreover, we don’t control the entire logistics operation. Prices for some fresh fruits and vegetables can fluctuate weekly depending on weather conditions, gaps in growing regions, and supply and demand. Despite price fluctuations, DeCA’s produce suppliers are required to maintain an average percentage of patron savings for a group of high volume core items as compared to common items found in local commercial retailers. Moreover, our suppliers are responsible for providing average patron savings for the core items of approximately 40 percent. That is more savings than DeCA is required to maintain in our operations. These core items include apples, bananas, red and green grapes, grapefruit, potatoes, tomatoes, and carrots. When we say we require, we require. We closely monitor supplier operations to ensure our customers receive the freshest, highest-quality produce at the lowest practical price. We want a guaranteed savings for our customers.
But wait, there’s more. The commissary transformation means we can do greater things with patron savings. On June 1, 2018 commissaries launched the “Your Everyday Savings!,” or “YES!” program to allow us to drop prices even lower on these attractive image items that consumers tend to buy the most. We’re slashing pricing on popular brands of flavored iced teas, pasta, macaroni and cheese, Spam, yogurt, cereal, oatmeal, baby food, nutritional shakes, potato chips and other selected snack foods, apple juice, vegetable juice, coffee creamer, coffee, energy drinks, soup, bananas, oranges, tomatoes, avocadoes, paper towels, toilet tissue, bottled water, dish soap, fabric softener and pet food. We continue to add products to our YES! line to make sure we fulfill our commitment to patron savings.
No one complains about getting a great deal but we certainly speak up when prices are high. Although our buyers negotiate vigorously to get the best possible price on every item sold in commissaries, there are times when our buyers cannot develop a good business case for accepting certain deals offered by suppliers. Since Congress mandates no change to patrons’ overall level of savings, that’s just what we intend to do. With YES! you get great deals on products you buy everyday while paying a little more on other things. Essentially, we hope to alleviate the wide savings range and smooth it over. So while you see some sticker prices that are high, you are still saving on your grocery bill. Congress demands it.