Quantitative Reasoning: Calculating Cost Of Meal


This task examines the benefits of cooking a meal yourself compared to buying a ready-made meal. Specifically, the cost per cooked portion is £1 per person, which is equivalent to £3 for a family of three. Accordingly, the key objective of this analysis is to determine whether cooking a Toad in the Hole meal yourself would be cheaper at the purchase prices of ingredients from the supermarket.

Reasonable Answer

A list of ingredients and their prices is available, along with a final recipe for three people. Obviously, one cannot buy lesser amounts of vegetable oil or flour at the supermarket, so the final calculation must be made for the cost of ingredients for only three servings, not for all items. So, the cost of the entire purchase without including the recipe is:


As can be seen, the purchase price is higher than the cost of buying three servings of the finished dish. However, it is worth repeating that £5.87 is the cost of an excess number of products, which means that the final cost of cooking Toad in the Hole on its own will be lower than this number and probably lower than £3.


The main key to solving this problem is to recalculate the purchase price of the product based on the amount of product required for cooking. To do this, it is worth assuming that the product is evenly distributed, so if one takes ¼ of it, the final cost will also be reduced by that amount. In this case, one gets:



Based on the calculations made, it can be seen that the final purchase cost for the dish for three servings was spent £2.48, which is less than the cost of three servings of an already-cooked dish. So, it has been shown that there is a benefit in cooking Toad in the Hole on its own compared to buying ready-made servings. But for critical reflection, it should be understood that the benefit may be lost if leftover ingredients are not used before the end of their shelf life. Thus, the benefit does exist as long as the remaining portions of the products are not thrown away.