Editor’s Note: This release was edited by Larry Lapka
DeCA Water Receives PLMA Award • FORT LEE
The Defense Commissary Agency’s (DeCA) Freedom’s Choice Enhanced Water received the Private Label Manufacturers Association’s (PLMA) 2020 Salute to Excellence Award virtually through the trade organization’s Private Label Week event, Feb. 1-5.
This further solidified the agency’s private label offerings as a strong part of the commissary stock assortment. Since DeCA introduced its private label program in 2017, the agency said it has added over 1,000 private label products. Store brand sales in fiscal 2020 were over $136 million and the program moved almost 62 million units.
Due to social distancing restrictions linked to COVID-19 safety precautions, the PLMA replaced its traditional award display at its Chicago Trade Show with a “Salute to Excellence” winners video aired during the association’s virtual Private Label Week.
DeCA’s commissary store brand product emerged as a winner in the water category out of over 700 product submissions from 55 North American retailers in 68 categories. The submissions were tested and judged by evaluators from consumer and industry groups.
Taste was among the attributes lauded by PLMA judges. This is a key component to the product’s quality, said Bill Moore, DeCA director and chief executive officer (CEO).
“The taste of our water is enhanced through an electrolysis process which is recognized as the premier technology for creating pure drinking waters,” Moore said. “The added electrolytes create a healthful drinking water that is perfect for after-workout refueling — without adding calories.”
The water’s package label also drew praise. The look was a collaborative effort from the JPG Global and the SpartanNash design teams, said Jennifer Ferrell, DeCA’s private label program manager. SpartanNash is DeCA’s private label distributor.
“With the label design, we wanted to capture the fluidity of the ocean along with the colors of our Freedom’s Choice logo,” Ferrell said. “We also wanted a design that would stand out from other waters so our customers would understand the elevated benefits of our product.
“Many of our customers have a dedicated exercise regimen, and we knew it was important to get the design and taste right while still ensuring optimal mineral replenishment. We believe that this design accomplishes this, and we’re so honored that our industry colleagues noticed.”
The full list of winners can be found at https://www.plmawinners.com/
This is not the first award that DeCA’s Freedom’s Choice Enhanced Water has received. The product was initially recognized in August 2020 when it received the 2020 Gold Vertex Award for packaging.
COMMISSARY STORE BRANDS
Besides the Freedom’s Choice brand, which includes food products, DeCA’s commissary store brands lineup also includes the HomeBase brand for non-food items including paper towel and tissue products, garbage bags and other household items.
Commissary store brands — none of which are exclusive to DeCA — are also sold under the following names:
• TopCare: health and beauty
• Full Circle Market: natural and organic food options
• Tippy Toes: baby products
• Flock’s Finest: wild bird food
• Pure Harmony: pet food
• Wide Awake: coffee beverages
The agency also reported that Crav’n Flavor — comfort food favorites — will be coming soon to commissary shelves. It, too, is not a DeCA exclusive.
Edited by Larry Lapka