Army & Air Force Exchange Service Expands Better-for-You Offerings Through Its Micro Markets

AAFES micro market

DALLAS — The Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) is expanding its offering of on-the-go meals and other products, including better-for-you options that support a "BE FIT" lifestyle at micro markets across the United States.

The micro markets are self-service convenience stores inside AAFES installations that provide 24/7 access to small meals and snacks, including fresh fruit, salads, sandwiches and beverages.

The micro markets are automated, allowing customers to make a selection, scan its barcode, pay and leave without assistance. Some locations also offer sundries such as asprin and bandages.

"The Exchange supports the readiness and resiliency of airmen and soldiers wherever they are, day or night," said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Luis Reyes, senior enlisted advisor for AAFES. "Micro markets offer much-needed sustenance to those serving in small or secure facilities, where no dining options exist, or late into the night, after other restaurants and retail stores have closed."

The first micro market opened in 2014 at the Raven Rock Mountain Complex in Blue Ridge Summit, Pa. Currently, AAFES oversees 40 micro markets on 24 installations, including at the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado Springs, Colo., and the Department of Defense Consolidated Adjudications Facility at Fort Meade, Md.

The two most recent micro markets opened inside Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City in mid-June. Two more are scheduled to open at the same base by the end of 2019, and a further 35 micro markets are being considered or planned for this year.

"The students and instructors have such a small window of break time," said Capt. James Broeker, the Army Recruitment and Retention College company commander, of the micro market at Fort Knox, Ky. "Having that kind of commodity in the building really takes care of everyone."

AAFES takes a holistic approach to providing BE FIT options that promote and encourage healthy, better-for-you options, according to the Exchange. The BE FIT program labels better-for-you food and beverage options on the go with easy-to-spot "Healthier Choices, Healthier Lifestyle" shelf tags, as Convenience Store News reported.

Dallas-based AAFES operates 3,500 facilities consisting of department stores, convenience stores, gas stations, restaurants, theaters and specialty stores on military installations in all 50 states, five U.S. territories and 33 countries.