Why You Should Always Order a Big Super Bowl Pizza
In general, the more pizza we have, the better. This is especially true for the Super Bowl party, so be prepared for some good news regarding your upcoming (safe and socially distanced) celebrations of the great game between chiefs and pirates .
If someone tries to dissuade you from buying a few large pies, don’t let them: it’s almost always better to order a larger pizza, according to the math (well, engineer). That’s why.
It’s all about math
In 2014, Quoctrung Bui explained on the NPR Planet Money blog:
One day last year, the engineer and I went to lunch at a pizzeria. The engineer told me that he was not very hungry, but he said he was going to get a 12 “medium instead of an 8” small one because the medium was more than double the small one and only cost a little more. It blew my mind.
… The math behind why a larger pizza is such a bargain is simple: a pizza is a circle, and the area of the circle increases in proportion to the square of the radius.
So, for example, a 16 “pizza is actually four times the size of an 8” pizza.
And when you look at thousands of US pizza prices, you will see that you almost always get a much better deal when you buy a larger pizza.
The post also includes an interactive graph comparing average pizza prices at pizzerias and chains across the country. You can drag the slider at the bottom of their graph to see exactly how much bigger that big pizza is compared to the smaller ones, and how much at average prices for each pizza you actually win.
The pizza diameter tool is obviously based on fairly old data, but the general rule remains for the 2021 Super Bowl and beyond: the larger the pizza, the more expensive you will spend. For example, one 18-inch pizza has about the same area as a 1.7-inch 14-inch pizza or 5.1 8-inch pizza. To get the same amount of pizza that you get on an 18-inch pizza for $ 18.68, you’ll have to spend an extra $ 5.29 on a 14-inch pizza or an extra $ 23.09 on an 8-inch pizza. See how the numbers add up?
It’s almost always better – mathematically, mind you – just to eat more pizza. This hypothetical example will obviously be slightly more expensive in today’s dollars, but the principle remains the same.
Of course, this math exercise is a rational, logical method of figuring out how to get the most out of your pizza investment. Obviously, there is no point in buying a large pizza if you cannot eat it, you don’t want to overeat, you don’t have the funds to buy a larger one, or you don’t have the ability to store leftovers. But in all other cases – especially during the Super Bowl, which is arguably the most widely held national pizza day – choose the bigger pizza.
This story was originally published on 10/23/16 and was updated on 2.03.21 to provide more complete and up-to-date information.