Someone has used Freddos to prove that minimum wage in the UK should be £18/hr 1 month ago

Someone has used Freddos to prove that minimum wage in the UK should be £18/hr

Get ready for some maths, ladies and gentlemen. Some rather wonky maths

An amateur economist has used the price of Freddos to work out that the UK minimum wage should be £18/hr.

In a screenshot of a text message, uploaded to /r/TheyDidTheMath on Reddit, someone posited that the price of Freddos should influence the level of minimum wage. An interesting theory.

Now before we get into this, there's some things to note. First, this meme has been knocking around since at least 2017, if not earlier. Secondly, there is at least one factual inconsistency which rather undoes the whole idea.

Not that it's meant to be taken seriously at all. But any argument in favour of boosting the minimum wage - especially one involving chocolate - is alright by us.

The theory goes as follows: in 1999, when the minimum wage was first introduced to the UK, workers were paid a minimum of £3.60/hr (this is accurate). In 1999, a Freddo cost 5p, which meant you could buy a minimum of 72 Freddos with one hour's wage.

Now, the theory states, the minimum wage is £7.50/hr, and Freddos are 25p, meaning you can only buy 30 Freddos with an hour's wage. In order to get back to one hour's wage equating 72 Freddos, it needs to be £18/hr.


Here's where it falls down. Actually, it falls down in several places, what with it not being a 100% serious economic proposal - check out FullFact's breakdown of the Freddo v Inflation meme.

In 1999 Freddos cost 10p, not 5p, meaning you could only buy 36 Freddos with an hour's wage. So by that logic, the minimum wage would need to be £9/hr, not £18/hr.

There is no standard minimum wage in the UK; what you receive depends on your age and whether you're in an apprenticeship, but for argument's sake let's take the current highest minimum wage, which is £8.72 for over 25s, which puts us roughly one Freddo short of the 1999 standard.

So while the Freddo purchasing power of over 25s may have reduced, it's only by one Freddo, so you could argue that the Freddo theory actually proves that we're pretty close to being on track.

However, when you consider that under 18s are arguably more likely to be buying Freddos, the story changes. The minimum wage for under 18s is currently £4.55, which under this theory enables you to buy 18.2 Freddos an hour, a loss of 17.8 Freddos.

For apprentices, who are at the lowest end of the scale, minimum wage is currently £4.15/hr, which gives you the spending power to buy 16.6 Freddos - that's a loss of 19.4 Freddos per hour.

So what does this tell us? Absolutely nothing, because it's all a joke anyway. But the point is, Freddos are nice and workers should be paid a living wage, and that's all there is to it.