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Industry Insight

Sweet Dreams Are Made of This

By Richard Romano
Published: November 7, 2012

Last week, Sandy wasn’t the only thing happening in the world—there were also things that rhyme with Sandy. Like candy. Last week was Halloween, of course, and as one Brooklyn-based friend of mine (with a seven-year-old child) put it on The Facebook Machine, “Did you think Halloween was canceled this year? Oh, my, no.” Where there’s a sugar high, there’s a way. Says Donna Arnett, head of the department of epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health:
The average U.S. child collects between 3,500 and 7,000 calories from candy on Halloween night, a public heath expert estimates.
Assuming he or she eats all of this what does that translate to healthwise?
a 100-pound child who consumed 7,000 calories would have to walk for nearly 44 hours or play full-court basketball for 14.5 hours to burn those calories.
I recall one SU-UConn Big East Championship game that I think came close to 14.5 hours... Anyway, calories (delivered via candy or any other food) are essentially a source of energy, not unlike gasoline. Bill Chameides at The Green Grok does some interesting “candy to gasoline” calculations:
A gallon of gas weighs about six pounds and contains about 130 million Joules (130,000 kilojoules) or about 30,000 calories. So here are some candy-to-gasoline equivalents. Candy amount is equivalent to...gasoline amount
  • 1 pound of candy: 0.06 gallons
  • American kid’s Halloween haul: 0.1–0.2 gallons
  • Average American’s candy intake: 1.6 gallons
  • Total American candy consumption: 400 gallons
Exxon used to say, “put a tiger in your tank.” Maybe you should put Tony the Tiger in your tank. Looking at it from an economic standpoint:
I estimate that a pound of candy costs about $4. By comparison, a pound of gasoline (remember there’s six pounds in a gallon) only costs about 60 cents. Sounds like gasoline’s a bargain.
we don’t buy gasoline by the pound. So what about the caloric value? Well, a dollar will buy you about 500 candy calories but at the pump that very same dollar will get you 8,600 calories of gasoline. Even more of a bargain.
Personally, I’d rather have a small amount of candy and walk everywhere, but alas that’s not always possible.

Richard Romano is Managing Editor of WhatTheyThink | Printing News & Wide-Format & Signage.  He curates the Wide Format section on WhatTheyThink.com. He has been writing about the graphic communications industry for more than 25 years. He is the author or coauthor of more than half a dozen books on printing technology and business. His most recent book is “Beyond Paper: An Interactive Guide to Wide-Format and Specialty Printing.



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