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Fresh Fruits & Vegetables (FF&V)

Question Answer

How did DeCA provide fresh produce to commissaries in the Pacific before Nov. 1, 2015?

The previous contract required the contractor to ship product to the designated port of embarkation (PoE) on the U.S. West Coast. The U.S. government assumed ownership of the product at the point of embarkation along with the costs to ship the product across the ocean to its final destination. This Pacific business model was unique in that at all other commissary locations, including those in Europe, fresh fruits and vegetable (FF&V) products are acquired free on board (FOB) destination, which means all provider costs are incorporated into the cost of the end product.

Question Answer

How does DeCA currently obtain fresh produce for its overseas commissaries in the Pacific?

Under the business model put in place Nov. 1, 2015, in South Korea, Japan and Guam, the contractor is responsible for the produce and for delivering it to the individual commissaries, rather than to a U.S. port, where the government would then have to ship the produce to the stores. This plan doesn't limit contractors to supplying only locally acquired produce. It does, however, encourage them to acquire as much of the produce as possible locally. This is not new; DeCA has been successfully using this business model in Europe since 2007.

The contracts to support Puerto Rico, Alaska and Hawaii, though remotely located, use the very same business model. All products are acquired FOB Destination, which incorporates all FF&V provider costs into the cost of the end product. The end result is high quality and fresh products for our patrons comparable to current commissary prices.

Question Answer

Why did DeCA make the change?

DeCA is committed to providing its patrons the best produce possible at a price that maximizes their savings. The commercial grocery industry as a whole favors acquiring locally grown products due to the tendency for these products to be fresher than those procured and shipped from distant locations. Prior to the solicitation of a new contract, DeCA employees noticed that some of the produce available in local markets throughout Northeast Asia was fresher and less expensive than the produce offered in our stores. However, recognizing the seasonality of many fresh fruit and vegetable products, the DeCA business model ensures that the responsibility for the product remains with the fresh fruits and vegetables provider – regardless of its origin. This encourages the provider to ensure that the product remains fresh and suitable for resale all the way to the back dock of the store – which is a commercial standard.

Question Answer

How many commissaries are affected?

All of Europe's 35 stores have been under the new business model since 2007. The contracts awarded in 2015 in the Pacific affect 27 stores in South Korea, Japan, Okinawa and Guam.

Question Answer

Will the price of produce go up for patrons in DeCA's Pacific stores?

Under the new contracts, prices on some products may increase or decrease, depending on such things as availability and seasonality. However, overall projected average patron savings is expected to be comparable to the previous contracts.

Question Answer

How is DeCA ensuring the food safety of produce under this new model?

The new contract stipulates that the fresh fruits and vegetables must meet or exceed U.S. Standards for Produce Grade #1 USDA Fresh Market Vegetable and Fruit Standards.

Question Answer

Will the new FF&V contracts save appropriated funds? If so, how much?

The U.S. government was paying $48 million annually to ship $25 million worth of produce to the Pacific. Under this new business model, DeCA will save about $48 million in transportation costs each year.

Question Answer

When will patrons in the Pacific begin to see produce under the new contracts, and will it be strictly local or a mixture of local and stateside produce?

The new contractors took over on Nov. 1. New produce has been intermingled with existing inventory on an as-needed basis. Produce available to our patrons will come from local, stateside and other countries, and the mix will fluctuate depending on availability, seasonality, quality and price.

Question Answer

What are the main takeaways for the FF&V business model for the Pacific Theater?

This FF&V business model for the Pacific Theater will not only save $48 million in appropriated transportation costs, but will also provide our customers with improved quality produce that is fresher and priced comparably to current pricing.

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