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Consumer Watch: Commissaries to group 'Better for You' products

Jun. 27, 2014 - 11:51AM   |  
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Commissary officials are making it easier for customers to make healthy food choices. Beginning with the Fort Meade, Maryland, commissary, they’re creating a “gluten-free” section and rearranging other items to highlight their “Better for You” products, as well as organic and natural products that the stores have offered for years.

The updates at Meade are expected to be complete in July. Officials plan to roll out similar changes later this year to the commissaries at Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia; and March Air Reserve Base, California.

Information was unavailable at press time about whether the program will expand to other locations.

It’s all part of the Defense Commissary Agency’s support of the Healthy Base Initiative, a Defense Department demonstration program across a wide spectrum of base activities designed to improve the health and wellness of troops and families.

Better for You products have fewer calories, no more than 7 grams of saturated fat per serving, and no more than 10 grams of sugar per serving in breakfast cereals.

These items now are mixed in with other products on the commissary shelves. As the changes are made, they’ll be grouped so that customers can easily find them, said Randy Chandler, DeCA director of sales.

The new Better for You displays will be placed at the ends of aisles and checkout stands — prime spots to grab customers’ attention.

Finding the best place to live

When you get orders to a new duty station, deciding where you’ll live can be daunting, especially if you’re going to a metropolitan area.

USAA has developed a list of the best places to live that are worth considering if you’re moving to one of the five U.S. metro areas with the largest active-duty populations.

There are other home-finding tools (www.ahrn.com and DoD’s www.homes.mil, which will launch June 30), but USAA has identified the best communities that offer military families a high quality of life in affordable locations outside installations.

Officials reviewed characteristics for communities within each metro area — including crime rate, affordability, quality of primary schools, proximity to military installations, and access to shopping, restaurants, and parks and recreation. Each community received a combined score from the quantitative data, and a qualitative assessment from a panel of real estate agents who specialize in military relocation.

The five metro areas and the communities are:

■ Fayetteville, North Carolina: Fayetteville South

■ Killeen, Texas: Harker Heights

■ Norfolk, Virginia: Southwest Virginia Beach

■ San Diego: Northeast Murrieta (Camp Pendleton), Mission Valley West (Miramar and Navy Region Southwest)

■ Washington, D.C.: West Stafford, Virginia

Through USAA’s Home Circle, a service that offers real estate guidance, you can view homes for rent or sale in these areas at www.usaa.com/tmc.

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