Chips Cure Munchies, Help Troops

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 14, 2006 - Next time the munchies hit, Americans in some parts of the United States only need to look for the red, white and blue bag asking shoppers to "Support Our Troops."

The bags of Support Our Troops tortilla chips are now available in all 105 Lowes Foods stores in both of the Carolinas and Virginia, Amy Palmer, national executive vice president of Operation Homefront, said.

"Originally we did a market test on them, (and) they sold great, so we started pitching them to other stores," she said. "We're hoping to get them in other stores across the country."

Don't look for the chips in commissaries anytime soon, though, Palmer said.

"(The) commissary won't carry (a product) until it has a proven track record of sales," she said, adding that Homefront officials have met twice with Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials about carrying the chips.

A percentage of the proceeds will go to local chapters. Operation Homefront provides assistance to families of deployed servicemembers. The group is a member of the Defense Department's a America Supports You program, which highlights ways the American people and the corporate sector support the nation's servicemembers.

CoPak, maker of "On the Border" tortilla chips and margarita mix, approached Operation Homefront with the idea, Palmer said.

"We've been approached with similar types of things, but none of them have been a brand name that you know and respect," Palmer said. "That carries a lot of weight as far as ... (retailers) understanding the quality and knowing that when they decide to carry it they're getting a good product."

The red, white and blue store displays are helping attract attention to the product. Lowes Foods stores' initial order has sold, and they've placed another order, she said.

The corn tortilla chips, also available in bags of all red or all blue chips, made their debut in January at the first CinCHouse convention in San Diego. CinCHouse is an arm of Operation Homefront and keeps military wives and women in the military connected and informed through its Web site.

The chips run between $1.99 and $2.59 a bag, Palmer said.

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