Commissary price change benchmarks: 3 things to know

By Amy Bushatz, and Commissary changes 3 things you need to know
(Photo: U.S. Navy, Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nardelito Gervacio/Released)

You may have heard that the commissary is about to welcome in some big changes. First there was a big battle in Congress (please pause here to imagine Anchorman-style fighting) over what changes, if any, to include. Then they commissioned a whole hill of studies. Then there was another battle or seven (pause for more Anchorman) and then, finally, they made a decision:

Instead of just asking the commissary to move from selling at wholesale to making a profit to cover their operation by changing grocery prices willy-nilly, they told officials that they need to keep groceries priced at a certain percentage below what things cost off base. To do that, they said, the commissary needed to come up with a way to figure out exactly how much patrons save.

But here’s the trick: what things cost off base is different everywhere because the cost of living varies. So Congress told them to come up with a guide based on regions. And, once that is in place, officials can then use it as a guide off of which to base future price points.

And that savings level is what commissary officials announced this week. Commissary officials emphasize that while this measure will be used as a benchmark later, it is what patrons should already be saving now. It’s also the basis, they said, for everything the commissary does.

3 Things You Need to Know About Commissary Savings

Here’s the overall savings you can expect by region:

Location:         Commissaries:     Savings %*

New England            36                  21.4%

South Atlantic          30                  19.9%

South Central           33                  18.1%

Pacific                        31                  20.9%

Mountain                  20                 17.6%

North Central           18                 20.2%

Alaska / Hawaii        9                  32.6%

Overseas                    61                 44.2%


Here’s what stores are in each regionClick here for a bigger and downloadable view!


In the future, prices will be set to match this savings scheme. Using a monthly “snap shot” of average prices at grocers near commissaries in each region, commissary officials will edit their prices to match the ordered savings. That means, for example, if Cheerios are $3 a box off base in the South Central region, they will be about $2.46 at the commissary, since the savings benchmark for that region is 18.1 percent.

The savings basis will be reexamined every month. Commissary officials said they’ll be reexamining the savings level every month, with an even more thorough check-in done quarterly. That means with these savings levels, we can still expect that they won’t divert wildly from the initial announcement.

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  1. I live in Iwakuni Japan on a marine base it’s 4.55 a box of Cheerios whys that not mentioned. Did you choose the cheaper region to make a reference with Cheerios because the last place we were also at there prices were very comparable to local grocery stores. If you live in the states it’s easier to shop somewhere else that also has generic brands and save money rather then a few pennies at the end of the day.

  2. A head of lettuce is $4 here on Okinawa. Produce is ridiculous expensive at the commissaries on Okinawa. This article has a lot of grey areas. Doesn’t make sense. Depending on the yen rate, shopping out in town at a local grocery store or farmer’s market is more feasible.

  3. Yeah but once you add in the surcharge my $2.46 box of cheerios is right back at $3. So I might as well go off base since I live in a state with no sales tax.

  4. I’d like to see where they are getting that 44% over seas from?! Over here in Germany where we are stationed, if you fill up an entire buggy of just fresh produce, dairy and meats it’ll cost you over $300.. go off post and you can get 2xs the amount of the exact same stuff for maybe 130€… so forgive me if I call bullshit on that number!!

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