The season of thanks is not over yet. Your commissary and our patrons have so much to look forward to in the new year. Your Commissary benefit is expanding to millions more service members including veterans with service-connected disabilities, Purple Heart recipients, former Prisoners of War, and primary caregivers. These new patrons will be able to shop the commissary, military exchanges and use morale, welfare and recreation retail activities. We are prepared to make their experience a great one as any family would. This includes making the commissary an even healthier store.
The timeline couldn’t be closer. We have rapidly expanded CLICK2GO online ordering over the past year. Additionally, our store resets have occurred at a faster pace in order to accommodate the necessary increase in shelf space and product assortment. This includes Dietitian Approved optimal fuel, single-serve items to assist troops and families in gathering nutritious foods and beverages in select commissaries. We are cognizant of the nutritional needs of military members and their families and constantly look for ways to increase access to healthy foods. How you fuel your body is indicative of how well you are going to be able to perform. A recent General Accounting Office report confirmed the commissary is a major factor in keeping highly trained, highly qualified men and women in the service, meeting the national defense needs of the United States.
While we continue to expand our product selection to nutritious foods and our selection of quality, dietitian-approved recipes to fuel your body. Commissaries worldwide are offering plant-based meat options for burgers, ground beef and sausages that are trending well with patrons. The commissary’s plant-based meat offers patrons an increased ability to meet their health, fitness and lifestyle goals. As these items have grown in popularity, many commissaries are cross-merchandising wherever possible to give them more exposure. These include Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burger, Brat Sausage, Hot Italian Sausage and Plant Based Ground.
This year brought its own set of challenges with a new inventory system and perpetual inventory processes, but we performed successfully in light of the changes and we look forward to continual improvements in 2020. At present, the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) has more than fulfilled its expectations. More than 20,000 shoppers rated the commissary an overall 4.51, a 4.9-percent increase from last year’s mark of 4.30, according to the latest customer polling. Our plant-based meat alternative products continue to see month-over-month double-digit growth. Customers should check with their store for details or visit their store page to verify what’s available. Also, don’t forget to stop by your commissary for some last-minute stocking stuffers.