Campbell’s Soup Insists They Really Do Know How Percentages Work

30percentbiggercampbellsWhat is going on in this photo? These are two identical cans of soup, except for what it says on the banner at the top of the label. Only one says that it’s 30% bigger than the standard 10.75 ounce size, and the other says that it’s 40% bigger. Both cans are the same size, so how can both cans be true?

When the picture was posted to Reddit last week, one commenter pointed out that the 40% label isn’t true, either. The size increase is actually 41.4%, but you can’t blame Campbell’s for going for the multiple of 10, which is easier to absorb when scanning the supermarket aisle.

We accepted the challenge, and contacted Campbell’s about the discrepancy. A company spokesperson acknowledged that this is confusing, especially with two cans side by side, but there is an objective truth: “the can that says 40% is accurate,” the spokesperson explained by e-mail. “We launched the can that says 30% first and we’re being conservative with the number. But they’re both right.”

That makes sense if the original design said “more than 30%,” but it doesn’t. If both banners said “more than,” both would be very literally true.

We hope that stores have sold out of the 30% design so there isn’t a nationwide epidemic of confused people staring at soup cans in stores.

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