Purchasing Cost Analysis

:
Switching to Blossom Foods Purees



Lauren Rice
MPH/GCPD Student
Management Rotation
July 2017


Lauren Rice
MPH/GCPD Student
Management Rotation, Activity 2


Description of the Project

Background
Currently, Harborview Medical Center (HMC) orders 2-4 cases of
pureed foods from two companies: Thick & Easy and Cliffdale.
After sampling some pureed food options from the pureed food
company Blossom Foods, HMC staff decided that Blossom Foods’
products were superior in taste and quality compared to the
options currently available at HMC. Therefore, HMC would like to
start ordering their pureed foods through Blossom Foods.

In order for US FOODS, HMC’s food distributor, to start stocking
Blossom Foods products, HMC, UWMC, and Valley Medical Center
must meet the minimum requirement of ordering 3-4 cases of
each product per week. In order to meet this minimum
requirement, HMC is teaming up with UWMC and Valley Medical
Center to divvy the shipments between the three hospitals weekly.

This project will inform future decision-making by comparing the purchasing costs associated with
changing pureed food vendors.

Population

The population of patients who will benefit from this change are those who are prescribed a pureed diet
order. As the pureed diet texture is already a restrictive diet, HMC managements feels that changing the
pureed options to something more palatable will enhance patients’ experience at HMC, and may help to
increase patients’ energy and nutrient intake during their stay at the hospital.

Justification

The switch to Blossom Food purees represents an operational process change that requires various
considerations before its implementation. One consideration is a change in purchasing costs.

Aims/Objectives

1. To compare the purchasing costs of Blossom Foods 3-Compartment Meals to the purchasing
costs of combing 3 separate Blossom Foods Single Portions to create a meal.
2. To compare the purchasing costs of Blossom Foods purees versus the current purchasing costs of
HMC’s current pureed food vendors.

Methods

Calculating the Purchasing Costs of Blossom Foods

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Lauren Rice
MPH/GCPD Student
Management Rotation, Activity 2

A list of US FOODS Blossom Foods prices by 3-compartment trays, 2-compartment trays, and single
portion options was provided. Blossom Food’s pureed products are ordered per case, and each case
contains 10-20 products (10 compartment products/case and 20 single portion products/case). The cost
of each product by portion size was calculated (i.e. each case of Blossom Foods single portion pureed
green beans contains 20, 3.5oz packages for a cost of $17.21/case. To calculate the cost per portion,
$17.21 was divided by 20.) Pureed meals are prepared at HMC by combining individually portioned
pureed items onto a plate. Therefore, it was assumed that a combination of three pre-portioned products
was equivalent to a “meal.”

The cost of 3-compartment Blossom Foods trays (equivalent to a meal) was compared with the costs
associated with combining three single portion Blossom Food items to create a “meal”. To complete this
analysis, the cost of several 3-compartment meal trays (i.e. Table 1 shows the cost/meal of a 3-
compartment puree children with gravy meal) was compared to the cost of combining three similar single
portion items to create a meal (i.e. Table 2 shows the cost/meal of puree chicken, green beans, and
carrots).

Table 1. Purchasing cost of 3-compartment meal from Blossom Foods
Cost/portion
Type Description Case Size Cost/Case Cost/oz size
3-compartment PUREE CHICKEN W/ GRAVY PARCOOKED 10/10.5 OZ $47.10 $0.45 $4.71

Table 2. Purchasing cost of Blossom Food meal when combining three, single portion options
Type Description Case Size Cost/Case Cost/ Cost/portion
oz size
Meal: Chicken and vegetables
Single portion PUREE CHICKEN & VEGETABLE (single) 20/4.5 OZ $26.05 $0.29 $1.30
Single portion GREEN BEAN PUREE (single) 20/3.5 OZ $17.21 $0.25 $0.86
Single portion CARROT PUREE (single) 20/3.5 OZ $17.37 $0.25 $0.87
Total Cost $60.63 $0.78 $3.03


Calculating the Cost of Thick & Easy and Cliffdale Purees (Current Purees at HMC)

The current costs associated with ordering pureed foods at HMC was collected and recorded per case.
This information was used to calculate the price per portion size.

Cost Analysis

Three separate cost analyses were completed:
1. Comparing the purchasing costs of Blossom Foods products versus the purchasing costs of
pureed products currently ordered at HMC.
2. Comparing the “per meal purchasing costs” of the 3-Compartment Blossom Food Options vs. the
“per meal purchasing costs” of combining three Single Portion Blossom Food options.

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Lauren Rice
MPH/GCPD Student
Management Rotation, Activity 2

3. The estimated total yearly purchasing costs of providing three pureed meals/day (assuming ~10
patients/day) using HMC’s current vendor versus Blossom Foods.

Results

Budget

The costs associated with purchasing pureed foods from Blossom Foods will be higher than the current
purchasing costs associated with ordering from HMC’s current vendor. Table 3 provides a breakdown of
the estimated yearly purchasing costs of serving 3 pureed meals/day (assuming that ~10 patients/day are
on a pureed diet). As reflected in Table 3, the 3-compartment meals are the most expensive option;
however, this purchasing cost estimate does not take into account the potential expected savings
associated with less menu planning efforts, and/or less meal preparation requirements, etc.

Figures 1 compares the purchasing costs associated with serving a 3-item entrée using three separate
options: HMC’s current pureed food options, Blossom Foods 3-Compartment entrées, and Blossom Foods
single portion items. Three commonly served example entrées (meatloaf, lasagna, and chicken) were
used in this analysis.

Figure 2 compares the purchasing costs associated with serving pureed breakfast dishes using three
separate options: HMC’s current pureed food options, Blossom Foods 3-Compartment entrées, and
Blossom Foods single portion items. Two commonly served example breakfast dishes (french toast and
eggs) were used in this analysis.

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Lauren Rice
MPH/GCPD Student
Management Rotation, Activity 2

Figure 1. The cost per meal of HMC Puree Entrees vs. Blossom Foods Puree Entrees. Specific meal
components and sizes are listed below.

Entrée #1: Meat Loaf1 Entrée #2: Lasagna2 Entrée #3: Chicken3
HMC Pureed Entrées: Beef puree, carrot HMC Pureed Entrées: Beef lasagna HMC Pureed Entrées: chicken puree
puree, corn puree (9oz) puree, carrot puree, and corn puree soufflé broccoli and corn puree (10oz)
(10oz)

Blossom Foods – Individual Entrée Blossom Foods – Individual Entrée Blossom Foods – Individual Entrée
Items: Meatloaf puree, broccoli puree, Items: Vegetable lasagna pureed, carrot Items: puree chicken and vegetables,
and carrot puree (11.5oz) puree, green bean puree (11.5oz) green bean puree, and carrot puree
(11.5oz)
Blossom Foods – Compartment Entrées: Blossom Foods – Compartment Entrées: Blossom Foods – Compartment Entrées:
Meatloaf with Butternut Squash Potato Vegetable lasagna with carrot and green pureed chicken with gravy (11.5oz)
puree (10.5oz) bean puree (10.5oz)


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Lauren Rice
MPH/GCPD Student
Management Rotation, Activity 2

Figure 2. The cost per meal of HMC Puree Breakfast Items vs. Blossom Foods Puree Breakfast Items.
Specific meal components and sizes are listed below.

Breakfast #1: French Toast1 Breakfast #2: Eggs2
HMC Pureed Entrées: French Toast Puree (3oz) HMC Pureed Entrées: Egg Omelet Puree (2.5oz)

Blossom Foods – Individual Entrée Items: French toast Blossom Foods – Individual Entrée Items: Scrambled egg
puree and turkey sausage puree (7.5oz) puree and turkey sausage puree (7.5oz)

Blossom Foods – Compartment Entrées: French toast, eggs, Blossom Foods – Compartment Entrées: Egg, potatoes, and
and fruit puree (8.2oz) turkey sausage puree (8.2oz)


Table 3. Comparison of the yearly cost estimates of serving 3 pureed meals/day using the current HMC
supplier vs. Blossom Foods (calculations assume n=10 patients/day)
Breakfast Lunch Dinner Daily Cost* Yearly Cost*
HMC $2.03 $1.98 $1.98 $59.91 $21,867.15
BF - Compartment $4.71 $2.71 $2.50 $99.21 $36,211.65
BF - Individual $2.63 $2.01 $2.17 $68.10 $24,856.50
*n=10 patients/day





Staffing Needs

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Lauren Rice
MPH/GCPD Student
Management Rotation, Activity 2


The number of staff required to implement this change will remain the same. However, the sous chef
who places the pureed food orders will need time to familiarize himself with the process of ordering
products from Blossom Foods. Coordination between UWMC and Valley Food Service Staff will also be
required, since US FOODS will only stock Blossom Foods products in their warehouse if they are able to
deliver 3 cases of each product/week to HMC, UWMC, and Valley.

Equipment

No additional kitchen equipment will be necessary to make this change.

Overall Results

One of the goals of switching to Blossom Foods purees is to improve patient experience by providing
higher quality and better tasting meals. We anticipate that if patients enjoy eating their pureed meals,
they may increase their total energy and nutrient intake while staying at the hospital. Simultaneously, we
hope that the switch to Blossom Foods purees will also contribute to reducing food waste*.

*HMC is currently designing a plate waste study to measure the amount of pureed foods discarded after meals versus the
amount of pureed foods discarded after the switch to Blossom Foods.

Considerations

Table 4. The pros and cons of purchasing Blossom Foods Compartment Meals vs. Single Portion Meals
Single Portion Meals Compartment Meals
Pros: Pros:

• Ability to mix and match meal components • Less labor intensive for cooking staff to prepare
• Creates opportunities to save costs, depending on compared to single portion meals
the products picked • Compartment meals are packaged in in a round
container, so they will be easier to cover with
Cons: round tray lids
• More labor intensive for cooking staff compared to • UWMC already orders 3-compartment meal
compartment meals options from Blossom Foods
• Requires more planning
Cons:
• Most expensive option



Potential Next Steps

Based on a discussion during the supervisor’s weekly meeting on Tuesday, June 28th, HMC would like to
move forward with purchasing the 3-compartment meals from Blossom Foods. The next steps are to
coordinate with UWMC and Valley to decide which 3-compartment meals they would collectively like to
order on a weekly basis. Once a decision is made, the Sous Chef will need a list of what 3-compartment

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Lauren Rice
MPH/GCPD Student
Management Rotation, Activity 2

meals to include in the weekly order. Additionally, the Food Service Manager will need to update the
rotating 7-day menu to reflect the new menu options.

In conjunction with this cost analysis project, a plate waste study was outlined to measure the amount of
food discarded after pureed meals are served using the current HMC vendor versus the amount of foods
discarded after HMC switches to serving Blossom Foods pureed meals. The plate waste study should be
completed by the middle of August 2017, before HMC makes the switch. The latter portion of the study
should be completed 3-4 months after the switch to Blossom Foods purees to account for transition time.

Self-Reflection

I achieved my goals for this project and was able to present my findings during a supervisor’s meeting
earlier this week. Everyone at the meeting had positive feedback about my work, and we were also
collectively able to come to a decision on how to move forward. One interesting aspect of the final
decision is that the team chose to order the 2- and 3-compartment entrees, even though these were the
more expensive options. The main justification for ordering the compartment options was convenience.
The compartment meals make menu planning, ordering, and preparing the pureed foods easier. I think
this decision reflects highly on the food service management team at Harborview, because it shows that
they are thinking beyond the bottom line and focusing on making changes that will improve patients’
experiences and health.

This project required that I coordinate with the Sous Chef, as well as the Food Service Manager, so it was
a good opportunity to collect some qualitative data on how the switch to Blossom Foods will affect
various food service staff. The Food Service Manager is also a dietitian, so her reasoning for switching to
Blossom Food is to serve a product that is superior in quality and taste. However, the Sous Chef explained
that switching vendors is time consuming, and will require additional energy and training for the first 2-3
months as they work out the kinks.










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