Wednesday 5 July 2023

Sweet Mystery

 This packet contains 12 sweets of 4 different colours (black, red, yellow and - my favourites - green). 


The number and order of the colours in each pack appears to be random (based on many, many samples 😉 ). If my calculations are correct and if they are really randomly distributed, one in every 4.2 million packets will contain 12 sweets of the same colour. Something I have often wondered about: how do the manufacturers avoid this? I can see a number of possibilities:  
  • Don't worry about it - it happens infrequently enough not to care
  • Optically scan each group of 12 sweets just before wrapping them and if they aren't sufficiently heterogeneous, don't wrap them - throw them back into the pot and try again. This only seems like it would be worth doing if they were optically scanning them anyway for other reasons (e.g. quality control)
  • They don't really throw all of the colours into one big pot and select them at random: they keep the individual colours separate right up to the packing stage and just shuffle the order in which they pick them to create the appearance of randomness.
Does anyone have any theories or insights? I'd love to know. In the meantime I'll keep eating them - purely in the interests of science, of course 🙂

No comments:

Post a Comment