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Cost Per Serving
Unit price is not always the best way to compare pricing.  In fresh meats, poultry and fish, for example, bone and fat add to the weight but are often not eaten.  These foods are best compared by the cost of a serving. 

For example, if you were at the grocery store and were trying to decide between fish fillets on sale at $1.80 per pound and a whole broiling chicken at $1.06 per pound.  By looking at the unit price per pound, we would think that the fish is a better deal, right?  That is not the case because the chicken includes bones, skin and fat, which are mostly unusable.  Even though the fish is more per pound, you get more edible meat per pound than you would with the chicken. 

Calculating Cost Per Serving
The first step is determining the cost per serving is determining how many servings a given amount will provide.  Take a look at the chart below to see how many servings you get per pound of meat, poultry or fish.

Chart Showing Servings Per Pound of Meat, Poultry and Fish

You can see that a pound of fish makes four servings, while a pound of chicken makes only two.  Divide the price for that amount by the number of servings it will provide.  The result will be your cost per serving.

cost per serving equation
   
In the example above, the cost per serving of fish fillets would be $0.45 ($1.80 ÷ 4 servings).  The cost per serving of a pound of chicken with bones would be $0.53 ($1.06 ÷ 2 servings).  You see that the fish is cheaper per pound.


Other Ways To Use Cost Per Servingraisin bran and toasted oats cereal boxes
You can also use cost per serving to determine the best value on prepared foods.   
  
Compare two boxes of breakfast cereal.  A 20-ounce box of raisin bran cereal costs $3.19.  A 20-ounce box of toasted oat cereal costs $3.69.  By looking at just the unit cost, the raisin bran will cost less.  However, by looking on the product label, you can find the number of servings in each package.  The box of raisin bran contains only 9 servings, whereas the box of toasted oats contains 18 servings.
 
To figure the cost per serving of packaged foods, divide the total product price by the number of servings indicated on the package label.  This calculation tells you the raisin bran costs about $0.35 per serving.  The toasted oats costs about $0.21 per serving.  If your family likes both types of cereal, the toasted oats are a better buy.

Cost per serving can also help you in meal planning and budgeting.  You can find the cost per serving of a homemade recipe by adding the cost of the ingredients and dividing by number of servings the recipe makes.  


Checking Your Understanding
Take what you have learned about cost per serving, download the Cost Per Serving of Cookies worksheet and complete it using the calculator below.
Text Version of Cost Per Servings of Cookies worksheet


Next Step - Other $ Savers


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