Sold by weight, not volume

I recently rediscovered a favorite Australian candy bar of mine, Violet Crumble. It’s made of “honeycomb” on the inside and coated with a thin layer of chocolate. The chocolate provides not only flavor but also function: honeycomb is hygroscopic (absorbs water from the air), and the chocolate forms a barrier to keep water out (and the honeycomb dry and crunchy).

Browsing the food label highlighted some interesting differences between Australia’s take on nutrition and our own. Most of the information is the same, although metric units are used (naturally) and energy is listed in kilojoules rather than calories. The ingredient list caught my eye because it associates a percentage with each item, something I’ve never seen in the U.S. And in this case, Violet Crumble was listed as being 59% chocolate and 40% honeycomb. As you can see from the picture, this clearly is not determined by their volume, but rather something else. I determined via google that these percentages are based on “ingoing weight” (prior to cooking/baking/mixing/preparing).

My candy bar is 17 cm long by 3.5 cm wide by 2.2 cm high (on average), for a total volume of 130.9 cm3. The chocolate layer appears to be about 1 mm thick, yielding a shell volume of ~21 cm3, leaving ~110 cm3 for the honeycomb. The whole bar weighs 50 g, so if we apportion weight using the above percentages, that’s 29.5 g of chocolate and 20 g of honeycomb. We can then determine the density of each, yielding 1.4 g/cm3 for chocolate and 0.18 g/cm3 for honeycomb. The only relevant density report I could find online is a figure of 1.325 g/cm3 for semi-sweet chocolate, so this at least seems reasonable. And just think, all this was possible because Australians include percentages in their ingredient lists!

3 of 3 people learned something from this entry.

  1. Tyestin said,

    August 30, 2010 at 2:20 am

    (Learned something new!)

    I am suddenly jealous of Australia’s food labels; that sounds useful.

    … what an odd thing to be jealous of!

  2. Terran said,

    August 30, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    (Learned something new!)

    I tried Violet Crumble when I was there, but I didn’t care for the honecomb myself. Purely personal taste.

    although metric units are used (naturally) and energy is listed in kilojoules rather than calories

    Yeah, I recognize that kJ are the official SI unit of energy, but calories are effectively as “metric”, right? They’re defined to be the amount of energy needed to raise 1g of water by 1 degree C. The only difference from J is a scaling factor that comes down to the specific heat capacity of water (~4.18 J/(g*degree C), IIRC.) Which is a reasonable quantity when you’re talking about food or the human body, which are mostly water anyway.

  3. Tabi said,

    October 30, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    (Learned something new!)

    I currently have a friend in Australia. She’s sent me Jaffa’s,Honey Comb and TimTams, along with Vegemite. I loved the chocolate. Jaffa’s were interesting in that they were orange flavored shell covering chocolate,almost like a M&M. Honey Combs were good and sweet,although not as sweet as American chocolate. Timtams were almost an American version of 3 musketeers, although not as sweet and holds a waffle bar. I didn’t like the Vegemite but apparently that is a like or hate it thing. If your big on smelling things I wouldn’t even try to smell it before you eat and I hear that placing it on toast is the best way for newbs

Post a Comment

I knew this already. I learned something new!