ReciteMe Accessibility Toolbar Toggle

New Bulk Room Machine Impact

Thursday March 14, 2024

With an economy that has been driving food costs up over the last few years, your Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank has been finding new ways to be more innovative in how we package and distribute food so that we can remain efficient with the funds we have to serve those in need. Our bulk packaging operation, one of the only food bank owned machines in the country, is a great example of how we are working to lower our cost per pound for food distributions which in turn allows us to serve more people.

Our first bulk packaging machine, a generous donation from the Ron Zappe Family and Lamar Family Foundation prior to the flood of 2016, has been overhauled a few times since then to find efficiencies in production. At the end of last year, we were able to acquire a second bulk machine, effectively doubling our capacity when both units are operating at the same time.

The addition of a second unit occurred in three separate phases. Phase 1 allowed for a redesign of the machine layout and labeling automation which elevated bulk output from 23 pounds per minute to 34 pounds per minute, a 48% increase. In phase 2 of implementation, we were able to transition from a 1-pound bag to a 2-pound bag, escalating total output from 34 pounds per minute to 50 pounds per minute. The third and final phase involved introducing pre-printed film for tandem operation of both bulk units at the same time, effectively doubling capacity to 100 pounds per minute.

“Collectively, these enhancements to our bulk room operation and expansion of run times are substantially enhancing our capacity to serve others by taking our total output of 1.3 million pounds per year to what will now be approximately 5.9 million pounds per year,” said Seth Hatsfelt, Chief Operations Officer. “This expanded capacity not only allows us to provide more product to our clients but also allows us to extend support to other food banks in our region, offering Louisiana rice at a more competitive rate than the open market.”

Leveraging these newfound speeds with procuring more bulk product and unwavering support from our volunteers will allow us to continue to reach more families in need while also fostering collaborative opportunities within our Food Bank community. 

Want to see how the bulk packaging machine works first-hand? We offer volunteer shifts online for people who want to spend time volunteering at our warehouse facility. We would love to give you a tour and show you what it’s all about. Visit us at to learn more.

Donate Today