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Interpretation of Circle Graphs

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Delicious Data

Credit: Evan-Amos
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:LD-Swiss-Cake-Rolls.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Have you ever eaten an Oatmeal Creme Pie or other "Little Debbie" snack cake? Since 1960, people have been munching on these yummy snack cakes all created by Little Debbie, a brand of dessert snacks owned by McKee Foods. But how does a food processing company like McKee Foods figure out which snacks are the consumer's favorite? How do they use data to predict sales? Circle graphs and statistics are essential.

Why It Matters

Every year, companies have to evaluate their products. They look at trends in popularity and sales to figure out which products are worth keeping and which ones may need to be updated or discontinued. A company like McKee Foods is no exception. 

Sometimes, directly polling consumers with a survey can be a good way to gather statistics. Take a look at this circle graph that was created from data gathered from a poll on Little Debbie's Facebook page.

Credit: Laura Guerin, data courtesy of Little Debbie Snacks
Source: CK-12 Foundation
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

By looking at the percentages, you can see that there are many items with low popularity and a few more favored items. Nutty Bars, Swiss Cake Rolls, and Oatmeal Creme Pies are among the favorites. How is this important? Well, if you were in charge of products or marketing for the Little Debbie brand then this visual display of the data would help you to see which products are the most popular and which are the least popular. If you were going to revamp your product line, this information would be essential to consider.

The next step could be to compare this popularity circle graph with a circle graph that shows the actual sales of each type of snack cake. Then you would have a more complete picture of the delicious data.

Check out this video on reading circle graphs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JqH55rLGKY

Explore More

Use the interactive applications at the following links to create your own circle graphs.

http://www.mathplayground.com/piechart.html

http://www.shodor.org/interactivate/activities/CircleGraph/

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Evan-Amos; Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:LD-Swiss-Cake-Rolls.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: Laura Guerin, data courtesy of Little Debbie Snacks; Source: CK-12 Foundation; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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