FORT LEE, Va. (Army News Service, Jan. 3, 2007) - Commissary customers are ringing in the new year with record-breaking savings.

"I'm proud to announce that average customer savings for a family of four have risen to nearly $3,000 annually," said Defense Commissary Agency Director and CEO Patrick Nixon. "As an agency, we always deliver the message that our savings are an 'average of 30 percent or more' worldwide, but savings have actually been holding steady at about 32 percent for several years now."

DeCA has not revised its savings messages for over a year, but using current U.S. Department of Agriculture figures for retail grocery food purchases consumed at home, a family of four shopping at the commissary on a regular basis can now save $2,957 annually on groceries. The figure formerly used was $2,700.

"Considering the rising cost of food, our buyers and the manufacturers and vendors that sell groceries in the commissary system have done a great job in maintaining outstanding customer savings over commercial grocery stores," said Nixon. "It all adds up to savings that can be used by military families to meet the rising costs of college, vacations, new cars - or even gas for their cars."

Under the latest calculations, couples can save $1,885, and singles can save $1,029 by shopping regularly at their commissary.

DeCA's average savings calculations are based on an annual price-comparison study, which compares commissary prices on approximately 30,000 items with those of local supermarkets and major grocery store chains. The study also takes into account state taxes and the 5-percent commissary surcharge, which goes to renovate commissaries and build new ones.

The commissary benefit also offers an efficient return on investment for the American taxpayer.

"The commissary benefit has always been recognized as one of the military's most valued benefits," said Nixon. "When you take customer savings into account, commissaries deliver more than two dollars in benefit to military customers for every tax dollar expended to support the system, and we're extremely proud of that accomplishment."