Opinion

Food Economy: Mathematical Reason Why You Should Always Buy a Larger Pizza

Whenever a person decides to order a pizza, the first thing that comes to his mind is how much is it going to cost and how much he wants to eat. The size of the pizza is always decided based on how much you really want to eat. However, if you’re ordering a pizza, you should always go with the largest one. This decision will always be in your favor. Here’s how:

Quoctrung Bui from NPR’s Planet Money blog explained the fact by a story.

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The story

Last year, Bui and one of his engineer friends went to a pizza place for lunch. Although his friend wasn’t much hungry, he asked Bui to order a medium 12-inch pizza for him instead of the 8-inch small one. The reason why he ordered a larger one was because the 12-inch pizza was more than twice as large than the 8-inch small one and it only cost a little bit more.

The reason behind this is that the pizza comes in a circle. A circle’s area increases with the square of its radius. So, a 16-inch pizza is actually four times bigger than an 8-inch pizza. Comparing the price of these big and small pizzas from different pizza places, you will see that mostly it is a way better deal to order a larger one.

The blog also includes an interactive graph which compares average pizza prices from different pizza shops across the country. The bottom slider can be adjusted to get an estimate of how big the pizza is as compared to the small one along with a price calculator which calculates the difference in price.

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Example

An 18 inch pizza has almost the same area as that of 1.7, 14-inch pizzas or 5.1, 8-inch pizzas. If the 18 inch pizza costs $18.68, you’ll have to spend an additional $5.29 on a 14-inch pizza and an additional $23.09 on an 8-inch pizza to get the same amount as that of the 18-inch pizza. This might look a little bit confusing but if you really pay attention to it and do the math, it’s quite simple.

To see the math in action, head over to the Pizza calculator and see how it works. However, before buying such a large pizza, keep in mind that you do have to eat it or at least store it somewhere. Otherwise, it’ll be wasted and nobody likes to waste pizza, right?

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