Army & Air Force Exchange Service Succeeds With Self-Service Micro Markets

The automated stores are positioned near military personnel working unusual hours or in high-traffic areas.
AAFES micro market

DALLAS — The Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) is giving service members without easy access to an Exchange or Express an easy way to fuel up with better-for-you meals and snacks with more than 230 micro markets.

Fully automated and contactless, the self-serve markets are positioned near soldiers, airmen, guardians and Department of Defense civilians working unusual hours or in high-traffic or out-of-the-way areas.

"The Exchange is all in to offer more convenience for the military community," said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Osby, Exchange senior enlisted advisor. "Micro markets are another example of the Exchange's longstanding commitment to provide for military members wherever they are called to serve."

First introduced in 2014 at the Raven Rock Mountain Complex in Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., micro markets are a fast-growing segment with about 80 new locations opened in 2022. About 80 locations are planned throughout the continental United States in 2023. Forty-six micro markets opened in 2021.

Micro markets offer a wider product assortment compared to traditional vending machines. Offerings vary by location, with most featuring fresh salads, fruit and other better-for-you items. The healthy food offerings are part of the Exchange's BE FIT 360 program that focuses on holistic wellness and a healthy lifestyle.

The "BE FIT" program features products meeting the following criteria:

  • Fewer than 500 calories and less than 480 milligrams of sodium for entrees
  • Two hundred calories or less and fewer than 230 milligrams of sodium for snacks
  • Forty percent or less of calories from fat for entrees and snacks
  • Fewer than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat for entrees and snacks

Select micro market locations also offer over-the-counter medicines, personal hygiene items and other sundries.

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service has been serving soldiers, airmen, guardians and Department of Defense civilians since 1895. The Exchange is the 54th largest retailer in the United States. One hundred percent of Exchange earnings support military communities.

Dallas-based AAFES operates more than 4,330 facilities consisting of department stores, convenience stores, gas stations, restaurants, theaters and specialty stores on military installations with operations in more than 30 countries, 50 states and four U.S. territories.