A Sweet Estimation Question

Last night, I took my kids out for an American children’s holiday known as Halloween.

Kids (and some ahem... adults) dress up in costume (I was a penguin this year), go door-to-door, saying “Trick or Treat” and get free candy from the neighbors.

My three kids brought back a record 420 pieces of candy. Hallloween Candy

In today’s New York Times, I learned that in the weeks leading up to this holiday, Americans purchased $2.7 BILLION dollars in candy.

So here’s my challenge for you.

Assuming all of that candy is consumed by someone in America, estimate the total number of calories represented by $2.7 billion in candy.

Assuming 3,500 calories consumed results in a person gaining 1 lb (0.45 kg) in weight, estimate how many pounds (or kilograms) of weight the American population will gain. Add a comment below to post your entry.

The winner will receive public acknowledgement of their estimation skills, and I will send them a portion of the candy “tax” I collected from my kids.

Yes, we tax our kids for a portion of their candy collection, as mom and dad provide “infrastructure” and “chaperone” services.

It’s a useful lesson in taxation.

(We tax at a 33% tax rate.)

Mostly it is an excuse to reduce the amount of sugar they will otherwise end up consuming.

For my kids, it’s an excuse to get rid of the candy they don’t like anyways.

Good luck and Happy Halloween!

Entries will be accepted for next 72 hours, and only entries posted as comments below will be considered. A winner will be announced next week.

UPDATE as of Friday, November 4TH AT 12PM ET: New entries are welcome, but not eligible to win, as contest has closed.

326 comments… add one
  • Sandeep Bhutani Nov 1, 2016, 11:55 am

    2.2billion pounds

  • aakashn Nov 1, 2016, 11:51 am

    Total Spent on Candy: $2,700,000,000

    Cost Per Bag: $10.15

    Total Bags Sold: 266,009,852
    Pieces Per Bag: 95
    Total Pieces Sold: 25,270,935,961
    Avg Calories Per Piece: 100 cals/piece (assumption)
    Total Calories: 2,527,093,596,059
    Calories Per Pound: 3,500 cals/lb

    Total Pounds Gained if all candy is consumed: 722,026,742 lbs or ~361,013 tons

  • Lillian Nov 1, 2016, 11:50 am

    144 billion calories
    41 million pounds

  • Sunil Nov 1, 2016, 11:49 am

    Approx. 60 Million Lbs

  • marie Nov 1, 2016, 11:49 am

    The American population will gain 38,571,428,571 pounds in weight.

  • Raymond Accary Nov 1, 2016, 11:47 am

    2.7 billion dollars in candy.
    The average chocolate bar costs a $.
    A bag of M&M costs like 4$ and has twice as much calories as a chocolate bar.

    So I will assume that a single chocolate bar has 1.25x calories as much as there’s actually in it to account for the non-homogeneous calories distribution.

    I’ll also assume that this ‘virtual candy’ represents the whole candy space.
    The average chocolate bar has 350 calories. Multiplying that by 1.25, we get:
    350 + 350/4 ~ 440 calories

    Assuming the average cost of any virtual unit is 1$, we end up with 2.7 billion x 440 calories = 1,188 B calories.

    1,188,000,000/3500 gives us ~ 340,000 pounds.

    P.S: 340,000/ ~340,000,000 : The average U.S individual gained 0.001 pounds. Considering the fact that maybe 70% of the consumption stems from children aged between 5 and 15 (Maybe 10% of the population).

    That means 70 % of 340,000 pounds were gained by 10% of 340,000,000.
    240,000 pounds by 34 m children. The average child gained 0.007 pounds!

  • JIAJIE YU Nov 1, 2016, 11:47 am

    147214286 lbs

  • Hanne Nov 1, 2016, 11:46 am

    96 million pounds

  • Ahmad Abdullah Nov 1, 2016, 11:44 am

    Total Cost ~ 2.7B
    (assume 1$ a candy with 1000 calories in it)

    US population should end up additionally ~ 350M Kgs Obese.

  • Peter Nov 1, 2016, 11:42 am

    $2.7B spent on Hallowe’en candy
    3,500 calories = 1 lb

    If $1 = x calories, then $2.7B = 2.7B (x)
    2.7B(x) calories / 3,500 (calories/lb) = Y

    if x = 200 calories (or 200 calories for every dollar spent),
    then Y = 154,285,714 lbs gained
    OR, if estimated population is 330M people, that is 0.46lbs per person gained from Halloween candy consumption.

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