Friday, April 6, 2012

The 2012 Edition of the Annual Weighing of the Reese's Peanut Butter Egg

Every year around this time, the conversation always turns to how much more delicious Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs are than regular Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Most of us would agree that is the ratio of peanut butter-to-chocolate that makes it all the more delicious. The eggs have much more peanut butter than the cups; this fact is undeniable.

In 2008, I decided to put this theory to the test and determine the actual ratios of the Reese's Eggs and the Cups. And I have taken to repeating that little experiment every year, mostly out of personal curiosity and sometimes out of boredom.  I like studying the variation in the ratios over time and making grand reflections on how the economy has impacted the Reese's egg ratios. In 2008, the peanut butter-to-chocolate ratio was 1.43. The next two years the ratio plummeted, much like the economy did. Last year, the ratio reached its all time high in this experiment at 1.46; it was a good year to be a peanut butter fan.

This year, I was intrigued by the ratio because of the spike in peanut butter prices that happened in 2011 and has been noticeable to all of us regular peanut butter buyers. The price increase was due to one of the worst peanut harvests in history.

What would be the impact on our beloved Reese's Eggs? To the makeshift Reese's Egg Lab, I went!

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The weight of the Reese's egg--as labeled--has remained consistent at 34 grams during all five of the weighings.

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But when I actually weigh them on my kitchen scale, they rarely actually weigh 34 grams. This year's egg weighed in at 33 grams; last year's egg weighed in at 37 grams.

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When the parts were all separated and weighed, this year's egg had the lowest peanut butter-to-chocolate ratio to date at 1.2.

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Only 54% of the total weight was made up of peanut butter, also the lowest percentage to date.

Reese's Item Year of Weighing Total Weight (g)

Peanut Butter Weight (g)

(% of Total Weight)

Chocolate Weight (g)

(% of Total Weight)

Peanut Butter-to-Chocolate Ratio

Easter Egg 2012

33

18 
(54%)

15g
(45%)

1.2

Easter Egg 2011

37

22 
(59%)

15g
(41%)

1.46

Easter Egg 2010

34

19
(56%)

15
(44%)

1.27

Easter Egg 2009

35

20
(57%)

15
(43%)

1.33

Easter Egg 2008

34

20
(59%)

14
(41%)

1.43

Original Cup

2008

20

8

(40%)

12

(60%)

0.67

Big Cup

2008

40

10

(25%)

30

(75%)

0.33

 

Perhaps the poor peanut harvest was the cause! I guess we will find out next year if the ratio improves after a (hopefully) good peanut harvest.

Disclaimer #1: Due to the general stickiness of the peanut butter and chocolate together, there are some parts that cannot be separated. This happens to both sides so I generally wave my hands and call it a wash. I call it the Kitchen Scientist's Theory of Reese's Easter Egg Stickiness.

Disclaimer #2: As a statistician by career, I know that I should use a larger sample size for this experiment and dissect a few more eggs. I think about that every year. But after I have peeled apart all the tiny bits in one egg, I wipe the beads of sweat from my face and say, "eh, that's good enough" and walk to Panera and get a cup of coffee instead.

Disclaimer #3: This experiment is conducted annually exclusively in good fun. I have no training, just a pretty decent sense of humor and curiosity. My only resume-worthy scientific experience to date was a rockin' good time at Science Camp in 8th grade.

3 comments:

  1. totally agree with you on this- love the reeses eggs. It also scares me that I buy peanut butter every 3-4 weeks and have no idea how much it costs... I had no idea there had been an increase.
    Also, I LOVE that you took the time to do this :)

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  2. Good disclaimers. You crack me up (egg pun totally intended).

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  3. Brave research! I hope you eat the experiment when you finish.

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