How Many Raisins Are in "Two Scoops"?


Note: Mangesh and I have a daily (well, Monday through Thursday) newsletter called Watercooler Ammo. You might like it. Here's one from last month.

Wait, how can that be?

Lucky for me (and society), Gregory J. Crowther, Ph.D. and Elizabeth A. Stahl, J.D., have done extensive research on the subject. In 2006, they published What's the Scoop? A Quantitative Analysis of Kellogg's Raisin Bran in the very enjoyable Science Creative Quarterly. Essentially, they opened a bunch of boxes and counted the raisins so you don't have to. Because I know you were thinking about doing it yourself.

Crowther and Stahl found there was a wide range in the number of raisins per box (201 to 381). In the 20 oz. box, raisin totals in two samples were 294 and 381.

Let's skip ahead to their results:

"To achieve truth in advertising and avoid lawsuits, The Kellogg Company should replace its misleading 'Two scoops!' slogan with a statement listing both the mean number of scoops per box (presumably 2) and the standard deviation (roughly 0.4)."

You can read their full write-up here, which includes theories like this one: "Kellogg employees are poorly trained in the operation of the scoops."

The experiment also proves my theory that any research that claims to be "inspired by a 1987 episode of Perfect Strangers" is important.

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