Why You Should Always Order the Large Pizza

Alex Van Buren
Food Features Editor
February 26, 2014

Graph credit: Quoctrung Bui, Planet Money

Today in pizza news: The wonderful nerds at Planet Money have been hard at work thinking about economics and… eating pizza. And thank goodness for that, because the result is one excellent graph.

Journalist Quoctrung Bui went out for a pie with an engineer friend who, he writes, ordered a “12-inch medium instead of the 8-inch small—because the medium was more than twice as big as the small, and it only cost a little bit more.” Bui, a mathematically inclined fellow, admits: “This sort of blew my mind.”

He took it upon himself to gather the stats, using an open-source statistics program called The R Project. Bui told us it took him three weeks to pull together numbers (using Seamless and GrubHub) from 3,678 pizza parlors (including 74,476 prices!) nationwide. The results, in visual format, are bound to make a person want to spend a extra few bucks for more grub: 

Graph credit: Quoctrung Bui, Planet Money

The findings across the board: always buy the bigger pie. The bigger the pizza, the cheaper the slice. 

It’s akin to looking at the “price per sheet” breakdown in the fine print at the grocery store, and opting to lug home 24 rolls of toilet paper instead of four. 

The best bit about the graph: It’s entirely interactive, so you can move a slide along its X-axis to find out how much money you might be saving by buying a bigger pie. 

Nutritional impact of eating this much pizza aside, this is great news for bargain hunters everywhere. Bui tells us that Planet Money will release a new graph on February 27 mapping out the median pizza prices, by neighborhood (read: where to get the cheapest pie) in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and Chicago. Though we’ve been sworn to secrecy till then, we’ll be keeping an eye out

[via Planet Money]

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