Ounces and grams: Living happily together in the US, but not in Canada


If you’ve ever scrutinized a food package in the US, you may have noticed that weight measurements are typically stated in both ounces and grams. Since the US is one of the few places that doesn’t use the metric system, it makes sense to provide both units of measure. But when I was in Canada a few weeks back, I noticed that their products are labeled in metric only.

Given the number of people who travel between the two adjacent countries, it’s a little strange that Canadian packages don’t provide the same dual-labeling that American ones do. Perhaps there’s a subtle nationalism going on here, where the US is perfectly happy to acknowledge global units of measure, while Canada doesn’t want to seem overly courteous to a US-centric measurement system.

Whatever the cause, it’s certainly better for consumers — regardless of their home country — when manufacturers include multiple units of measure on a product package. In deciding what to buy, people make mental calculations of value based on a number of factors, including how much is in the package. By making it easier for a larger percentage of customers to quickly recognize the sizes they are expecting, you’ll have a better chance at convincing those people to buy your product versus a competing one.