Breaking the myth: Chocolate chip cookie edition

Breaking the myth: Chocolate chip cookie edition

Kaitlyn Meyer and Lauren Adamski

C is for cookies, but saving money is for me. You may be a rookie, in finding the cheapest fee. Such hard choices, between bakery, homemade, and store. So listen to our voices, our experiment will help you explore. All rhyming aside, we wanted to see which one was the best. We let students decide, in our extravagant cookie test.

Our Experiment

Is there a way to tell what cookie is truly the best? How could we find out how to get the best quality chocolate chip cookie for the best price point? We decided to do a cookie experiment. We collected three categories of cookies which varied in price and quality. Bakery (the most expensive), homemade (varying price), and store-bought (the cheapest).

In the store-bought category we had, Chips Ahoy!, Pepperidge Farms, Keebler, and a Family Fare brand. Then, we went to bakeries all around Holland: Cakabakery, Simpatico, and The Open Acres brand. We had West Ottawa students Ella Spooner, Sophie Bonnema, Sarah Moraw, and Kelly Linart bake homemade cookies as well.

We ran our experiment by taking 12 participants at random and giving them one cookie from each category. The participants had to blindly guess which cookie was store-bought, homemade, or from a bakery. After they made their guess, we had them tell us how much they would pay for that one individual cookie. Their responses determined if bakery cookies are worth the price or worth the same as homemade and store-bought.

The Results

Which chocolate chip cookie is worth the most for its price point? Based on quality, positive reactions, and willingness to pay, the best chocolate chip cookies are the ones from bakeries! With an average of $1.98 per cookie, the graph shows that the participants showed the most interest in the bakery cookies. Surprisingly, the bakery cookies had the lowest guessing accuracy. We determined that bakery cookies were the best because 8 out of 12 participants said it was their favorite.

Guessing Accuracy

In the experiment, participants were tasked with determining what category the cookie was from; store-bought, bakery, or homemade. The graph (on left) shows the guessing accuracy for each cookie category. In the homemade category, 83% guessed correctly. Although this particular aspect of the experiment does not denote anything about the quality of the cookie, it does show that guessing the store-bought cookies was easy. During the experiment, participant Ella Spooner shared, “This one is clearly the store-bought one, it’s small and crunchy.” There is a noticeable difference between the bakery and homemade cookies yet it is harder to identify than store cookies. Many participants agreed with Instructor Shanna Meyer who stated, “I’m having trouble deciding between the bakery and the homemade cookie.”

Confounding Variables

While we did conduct the experiment to the best of our abilities, as with every experiment there are data disruptors. There were several variables and factors that could have altered the data we received in this experiment.

One major factor is the participants. Our participants were picked randomly so their taste preferences and motivation level to participate in the experiment may have varied. For example, a participant who doesn’t like chocolate chip cookies would give lower prices for the cookies as a result.

Another factor was the cookies themselves. Our store-bought cookies may have varied in quality. The Pepperidge Farm cookies were of higher quality compared to the Chips Ahoy! ones which would have resulted in varying prices in the store-bought category.

Appearance also affected our results, the store-bought cookies tended to be smaller in size giving the participant predisposition to not liking the cookie. Some of the purchased bakery cookies were cut into smaller pieces which could have resulted in people giving a price that was different than if they were given the whole cookie. While we tried to remind all participants that the cookie was cut into quarters, we are human and forgot once or twice.

In the end, we had success in our cookie test, the bakery cookies were clearly the best. While it depends on your preference, the store-bought cookies received no deference. Homemade cookies are sweet and made with love. Cookies are a delicious treat from the heavens above.