A juicy story

A slogan appearing on the label of a bottle of apple juice leaves some of us guessing about its intended message.

“3lbs of apples make every litre of Copella apple juice”

Thus proclaims the label on a bottle of “English apple”  juice. But why this odd mix of units? (It should be said that the bottle is also clearly marked ‘750 ml e’)

The slogan may be worded this way because the arithmetic works well. None of the alternatives looks or sounds as good:

13/4 lb in every pint

¾ kg in every pint

11/3 kg in every litre

Alternatively, this could be a new version of a favourite traders’ ploy – 3lbs looks a lot more than 1.36 kg.

Perhaps it is an attempt of emphasise the English origins of the apples that are used to make the juice – a fruity equivalent of the union jack that appears on the labels of some supermarket milk.

This particular combination of units is curious because the imperial alternative to the litre lives on in the UK as a primary unit, albeit only for draught beer and cider, whereas the pound (lb) has had no legal purpose for more than ten years.

Campaigners for imperial measures often claim in support that these are used in the USA, which has the world’s largest GDP. The pound is a primary unit in the US of course, unlike the imperial pint. But it seems unlikely that the advertising agency employed by a Suffolk apple presser would allow US practices to influence its copy.

Others may prefer the simple life, perhaps a can of “The Amber Nectar, 440ml e, alc. 4% vol”.

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3 Responses to A juicy story

  1. John Steele says:

    It is a curious slogan, particularly as they don't have a 1 L size. Quoting from their website:
    "A premium cloudy apple juice pressed from hand-selected apples. 3lbs of apples are packed into every litre to produce its unique, delicious taste. Available in 1.25 litre, 750ml, 330ml and 250ml bottles."

    Everything else on their website seems "proper metric," with no mention of Imperial equivalents.

    In the US, we would call this cider, and the fermented beverage, hard cider. Apple juice is a filtered, clarified amber liquid (which has the unfortunate effect of removing most of the flavor). We would regard the "3lbs of apples" as an advertising claim and pay it little attention as long as net contents, ingredients, and nutritional info were OK.

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  2. Jeremiah says:

    If the reason for stating the mass of the apples in pounds is because the pound sounds like you are getting more, then it is just as easy to state that 1400 g of apples goes into every litre as 1400 sure sounds like a lot more than 3. I've seen this claim used before to justify the retention of older units: pound pricing sounds cheaper than kilogram pricing and horsepower sounds like more power than kilowatts. Yet in these cases there is also a metric alternative so that the metric amounts can be made to sound better. Pricing can be done per 100 g and power can be shown in watts with out the prefix. So, from my point of view the claim is lame.

    Other lame claims by opponents of metrication are that the retention of old units is needed for trade with the US and that the US is the world's largest economy. These are simply no longer true. The US hasn't been the world's largest economy since 2007. The EU is and the gap continues to widen.

    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_the_European_Union and http://useconomy.about.com/b/2008/02/12/us-no-longer-worlds-largest-economy.htm

    The US is technically not the richest country either. It presently survives on borrowed money; thus anyone who markets their goods to the US is being paid with promissory notes and rubber cheques. There are a number of developing countries that use the metric system and are able to pay for what they import with exports. This is also true of most countries in the EU. These are the countries the UK should be concerning themselves with. If they did then they wouldn't need to claim that they need to use imperial to keep selling to the US. These facts need to be brought to the attention of those would easily be deceived by opponents of metrication who would use these untruths to damage the efforts of metrication by gaining the support of those who don't know better.

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  3. philh says:

    Actually, the fact that metric units differ signficantly in size from imperial does matter to traders.
    Opponents of metrication try to play this down because it suggests a selfish motive for traders resisting metrication. In fact the motive is dishonourable.
    As an a example petrol retailers were quite keen for the litre to replace the gallon. It is no co-incidence that the litre is much smaller. Contrast this with the resistance to the kg replacing the lb.

    So why does it matter? Well consider the following.

    If we assume that most people know that the yard is nearly the same length as the metre they might be tempted to think that say £4.29 per square yard of floor covering is cheaper than £4.99 per square metre even allowing for the small difference between a yard and a metre (about 10% or so). In fact the imperial price is equivalent to about £5.13 per square metre.

    Back in the 70s when retailers were changing over on a voluntary basis one major carpet retailer decided to revert back to selling by the square yard which boosted their market share. Not hard to see why.

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