The Humble Percent & Food Labels

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Sugar Frosty Feature

ORT_Logo   Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony,  24 November 2017


The Humble Percentage and Food Labels

Introduction

Percent or (percentage) used to be spelled per cent (and sometimes still is). It comes from the latin per centum meaning by the hundred.

What percent means is changing any list of numbers that add up to an irregular total into a modified list that adds up to 100. Once you get used to it reading a table of percentages becomes familiar and comfortable. Percentages can also be expressed as fractions and odds (think racecourses).

For example, 50% is a half, or odds of 2 to 1 in racecourse parlance (still meaning 1 chance in 2, but expressed this way because you get $2 profit for every $1 bet). 33% is about one third, 25% a quarter, 20% one fifth and 10% one tenth.

I used to joke when I was designing surveys for market research that only 1 person in 5 or 20% of the population understands what a basic percentages is. I actually had no idea. I thought I was exaggerating.

Why?

This article comes about because a friend couldn’t work out from an Australian food label: how much sugar and fat were contained by percentage, in items off the supermarket shelf.

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Posted from Kathmandu, Nepal

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