Plate IQ
August 30, 2021

Why Purchase Size Matters, And Not In The Way You Think

by Surbhi Kapoor & John Cho

Purchase size is occasionally packed it like a punch, out to lunch. I got a little hunch that stood out from the bunch

You know the drill when it comes to ordering supplies for your restaurant: Buy in bulk and save! 

Larger Pack Sizes Save You More! Larger than life, niceties, bigger than you, more than me! And give the everyday morning you use. There’s things right here I can’t afford to choose

Well, we’re here to tell you that that isn’t the whole story here.

In fact, did you know that there’s actually an inflection point where buying larger purchase size doesn’t necessarily mean you’re saving more?

Here’s what our data team found after sifting through some of the data available though Plate IQ Insights.

(Plate IQ Insights is a feature of the Plate IQ Platform that analyzes your invoices and alerts you to price changes, and lets you set up actionable triggers like contract price violations.)


The Plate IQ data team found some key insights in 4 categories of commonly ordered foodservice supplies:

  1. Granulated Sugar: While 50lb packages offer the most value, these can be too big for smaller restaurants. Instead opt for 10/4 lb pack sizes – these offer better value than 25lb packages
  2. Brown Sugar: 25lb packages are cheaper than 12/2lb and 24/1lb… (its just 1 lb more than the 24/1lb pack!)
  3. Ketchup: 25/20oz and 30/20oz cases are similar in price per oz to bulk sizes (#10 cans/pouches/jugs). (Both (20oz large cases and #10s) are cheaper per ounce than the 16/14oz cases. Make the switch!)
  4. Vinyl Gloves: Those of you buying 4/100ea cases need to stop. You’re paying ~200% more than the average! Make space for the 10/100ea or even just buy breakers. Avg price per ea is $0.07.

Data credit: John Cho, Plate IQ

Sugar, Sugar


The Plate IQ Data team analyzed sugar prices from over 60 nationwide distributors over a 3-month period (totalling close to 4000 datapoints!) to uncover some interesting insights:

In general, supply chain disruptions have not had a major effect on sugar prices; what is truly remarkable is that 10/4 lbs pack sizes of granulated sugar is consistently cheaper than 25lb pack sizes. It’s totally counterintuitive, but this price difference has been holding firm for more than 3 months.

Meanwhile in the brown sugar segment, if you’re trying to decide between 25 lb pack sizes vs 24/1 lb pack sizes, go for the 25 lb size! Its way cheaper per unit and it’s only a pound extra.  

Purchase Size Impact on Ketchup Shortage


You may have seen the news about the nation-wide ketchup shortage back in April (an age ago!), where we provided some data on rising ketchup prices to the Wall Street Journal.

Well, 3 months later, we now have a clearer picture on how you, as the restaurant operator, can strategize your ketchup purchase size for the best costs:

After analyzing over 3300 individual price data points across a 3-month period from close to 40 distributors, we found that the 16/14 oz ketchup tend to have the greatest price fluctuation; while the other package sizes tend to be more stable price-wise.

You’re going to be way ahead cost-wise by switching to 25/20oz and 30/20oz ketchup cases; and in fact the costs of these are very similar to bulk purchase size ketchup!

Make the switch and get prices similar to bulk! 

Hand In Glove…


For vinyl gloves, we’ll keep it simple. We analyzed close to 20,000 individual price points over a 3 month period from over 77 distributors to discover that 4/100 packs are a terrible waste of money and is the one pack size that wildly fluctuates in price;

Average price per vinyl glove dependent on purchase size.

If you’re still buying 4/100 packs you should probably stop that asap. Instead, consider switching to the 10/100 or 1000 packs. These may be a lot, so you might want to consider buying breakers as well. We promise that it’s a better use of your money than paying way over the norm for gloves!

Purchase size: Average Price per unit vs Pack size

And if you’re still not convinced, check out how much annual savings you’d get by switching! 

Annual savings reflected by various purchase size orders.

One of the biggest benefits of using Plate IQ is that you will be able to finally access the data that is hidden in your invoices. Because we digitize everything down to the line item we’re able to extract, visualize and highlight actionable insights for you. Some examples of how you can leverage Plate IQ:

  1. Set up hot lists for price alerts on your commonly ordered goods
  2. Set up contract price enforcement so your distributor doesn’t overcharge
  3. Compare costs across locations to ensure you’re being charged fairly
  4. Leverage group purchasing power with our partner Foodbuy Foodservice

Surbhi Kapoor & John Cho The Plate IQ Data Team

Stay up to date on the latest news in AP automation and finance

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.