How Much is Inside a Sandwich?

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How much do Sandwiches cost?

Some days, the only money I spend is on my lunch. In the middle of my workday, it is nice to get away from my desk and be served a meal that someone else put together. 90% of the time, I eat lunch at Carl's Jr.

I weigh 350 lbs.

If I'm saving money, bringing my lunch to work is the first adjustment, and a homemade sandwich is often the main course.


But how much money am I really saving? How much does it cost to make a sandwich at home? Its not easy to figure out.

There are a lot of variables. Variable ingredients, seasonal prices and uncertain volumes of those ingredients. When pondering the price of a sandwich, it is tempting to consider each homemade sandwich as a unique snowflake, with a amorphous value.

But, come on. It is a sandwich.


The first ingredient is bread. How much is bread? I don't know.

Obviously there are a lot of different types of bread, from featherweight wonder to bulletproof baguettes.

Our family uses Costco bread, so I used that to calculate my sandwich price.
A $2.00 loaf of Kirkland Multigrain comes in 16 slices, so each slice costs 12 and a half cents, including the two end slices (heels).



White bread is cheaper.


These "round top" generic loaves of white bread at Target were $1.37 and were cut into 20 slices (7¢ each slice).


Oroweat Rye is one of my favorites. It is more expensive. These $3.99 loaves are cut into 16 25¢ slices.

They also come packed with 50% less heal than other loaves.


Fat sandwich rolls are a little more. These were $3.49 for six, or 58¢ per roll (29¢ per slice).

 

The most expensive bread I found in the store was a tiny loaf of frozen, wheat and gluten-free rice bread at 31¢ a slice.

If you buy bread at a neighborhood bakery, you might pay $6 a loaf ( 37¢ a slice).


Next, I needed to figure out the price of mayonnaise. How much is two knives-full of mayo? I prepared a sample measurement.


This sample of mayonaissed bread features 16.7 grams of mayonnaise. Dividing a $3.44 jar into 53 slices of mayonaissification comes at a cost of six and a half cents per slice or 13¢ per sandwich.

Miracle whip is the same price.


Plain yellow mustard is the next ingredient.


This sample cursive weighed 3.3 grams, 120th of a 396 gram bottle. That's 1¢ worth.

 

Dijon mustard is to yellow mustard as a Rolls Royce is to your Honda.

A 454 gram bottle sells for $6.99, and that is 5¢ per serving. I don't mustard up both slices of my sandwich bread, so your mileage may vary.


Ketchup isn't often used on sandwiches, but if it were, a 17 gram serving would cost 6¢, assuming you bought a 36 ounce bottle for $3.59


Ok. Mayonnaise and mustard are the cheapest parts of the sandwich. You aren't going to save much money by going without a condiment, but some sandwich lovers prefer them bareback.


Kraft singles are a very inexpensive source of processed "cheese", mostly because they are wafer-thin. Twenty-four slices cost $2.54, or 10.5¢ per slice. It seems a little odd that the cheese might be cheaper than your bread.


I'll measure some real cheese a little later.


Iceberg lettuce is cheap, but a challenge to estimate more accurately than that. I used 14 and a half grams of lettuce on my sample sandwich, which is one 47th of a head of lettuce by weight (2¢).


But not every leaf of the lettuce head is suitable for sandwiches.


I'd guess that 60% of the lettuce wouldn't make it into sandwiches at all, raising the per sandwich lettuce price to 5¢


Adding tomatoes to a sandwich turned out to be surprisingly expensive.


33.8 grams at $2.99 per pound makes for a 22¢ serving.

Substituting ketchup is still a bad idea.


Finally, some processed sandwich meat. This Oscar Mayer Turkey was $2.99 for 16 slices or 18.5¢ cents per slice.

Oscar Mayer Beef bologna was a little more, $3.84 per pound or 24¢ per slice.


And there you are! Bread + Mayo + Mustard + Cheese + Lettuce + Tomato + Turkey + Mayo + Bread = Sandwich and sandwiches cost 95¢!

 

Or more.

 

Or less.


Processed meat and cheese is generally cheaper than deli meat and cheese. One of my favorite sandwich meats is roast beef, but it is expensive at about $8.99 per pound.


For example this 1.7 ounce serving (56 grams) of roast beef was 99¢.


Real cheddar cheese blocks are available at about $2.45 per pound. That's 12½¢ for three long slices (23 grams)

 


Processed turkey from a "Turkey Variety Pack" was $3.50 for 12 or 29¢ a slice.


Sliced salami is was $5.29 per pound or 21¢ for three slices.

 


$4.69 bacon works out to 58½¢ for two slices.


$1.25 avocados are each good split between four sandwiches: 31¢ each.


Tuna was $1.29 for a 5 oz. can, and I think a half of that makes a pretty good sandwich at 65¢.

A can of sliced olives splits into nine 11¢ servings.


.

Alfalfa sprouts are $1.99 for four ounces. I never regret adding sprouts to a sandwich.

One homemade sandwich holds about 16½¢ worth.



Smoked, pre-sliced gouda was precious, $4.99 for an 8 oz. packet - 62¢ a slice. I'd say this gouda is the most enticing item in this whole article.


There are two other sandwiches that I'd like to tackle: grilled cheese and peanut butter and jelly.


Butter generally replaces mayo on grilled sandwiches. Pictured here is one tablespoon of butter, enough for the whole sandwich. It is the 32nd part of a pound of butter and worth 11¢.



With 25¢ of bread and 12½¢ of cheese, Grilled cheese costs 48½¢.

You could also add two strips of bacon, for an additional 58¢. You sick bastard.


Peanut butter and Jelly is another popular choice.

 


38 grams worth of Peanut butter is almost a 12th of a $2.50 jar: 21¢.


 


This jelly came in a 510 gram jar for $2.98. A 31 gram serving is worth 18¢.

So 25 cents for the bread, 21¢ for PB and 18¢ for J = 64¢ for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Uncrustables, the frozen PB&J sandwiches by Smuckers are about 90¢ each, so the crust on a homemade one is worth negative 26¢.


I hope this whole exploration hasn't left you with the feeling that Rob Cockerham is the cheapest person on the earth.

The truth is quite the contrary. In fact, I'm enjoying a luxurious $1.87 footlong as I type this.

Summary:

Processed turkey sandwich: 93¢
Grilled cheese sandwich: 48½¢
Peanut butter and jelly: 64¢

Would you like to calculate the price of some other type of sandwich? Try the amazing life-changing cockeyed.com sandwich price calculator!

 


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