Hamburger Helper Is Ditching the Hamburger, Leaving What Exactly?

Categories: Complaint Desk

Hamburger-helper.jpg
We're divided into two distinct groups: those whose parents prepared Hamburger Helper on occasion and those whose parents adamantly refused to. Kids who received the occasional beef, noodle and maltodextrin sautée most likely thought it was just another salty meal. But the children who were denied the boxed delicacy were whipped up into a fervor when they learned what they were missing.

There was school bus chatter, or worse, Hamburger Helper was served while they visited a friend's house. To have those passionate arguments (but Sally's mom says its OK!?) fall on deaf ears was an agony and it was compounded the second we began to grapple with the basics of finance.

Why in God's name would you deny me something that costs less than my allowance?

General Mills' product may not be cheap enough, though. BloombergBusinessweek reports that sales have slumped in recent years, and in response, marketing experts are reinventing the brand. Their first step? Ditch the Hamburger.

The products, which will be released in new flavors and with premium sauce pouches, will soon be known simply as Helper. With the advent of Chicken Helper and Tuna Helper, General Mills thought things were getting confusing. By sticking with just "Helper" they've attempted to streamline the brand.

They've also removed the only real ingredient from the name. To prepare the stuff, a cook browns ground beef (or choose your own protein) in a pan, adds water and then dried pasta and the seasoning packet that comes in the box. Without the hamburger, "Helper" is nothing but super-cheap pasta, a slew of dried "natural" seasonings and an anti-caking agent.

The move is supposed to help General Mills target a growing customer base. Young, single bros who grew up in a Hamburger Helper household have discovered that the boxed dinners can save them time just like their parents. Single moms, who work all day before they come home to work a whole lot more, are still hooked on the Helper, too, because it's fast and affordable. But no matter what you call it, Helper will always be familiar with either demographic. Lefty, the happy glove with a missing finger, isn't going anywhere.


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34 comments
J_A_
J_A_

This can't be any worse than ramen right? I haven't seen a hamburger helper commercial in a long time.

Sharyna AngelDreamer
Sharyna AngelDreamer

If they ditch the hamburger part, how will I know it from Chicken Helper or Tuna Helper??

texpwr7529
texpwr7529

Don't know why they call this stuff hamburger helper.Tastes just fine by itself.Like it better than tuna helper myself.

Uncle Eddie (National Lampoon's Vacation)

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

cant deny that there is a box of cheesy italian shells in my pantry now.  Sometimes, I just come home and say  fuck it, throw it all in a pan and we eat. 

NewsDog
NewsDog

Venison helper.

I used to make the Chili mac version pretty regularly when my son was little. Tweak it a little and it was pretty good.

Daniel
Daniel

I confess to eating this crap, and even serving it to my kid, a few times a year -- always the flavor depicted above. It's much quicker, easier and cheaper than making an actual beef stroganoff. Shit has so much sodium, it makes your face pucker up like a prune. It's junk food, but if you use good ground beef, a little of your own seasoning, and only use about two-thirds of the chemical powder pouch, it's all right. Healthier than, say, Whataburger -- a very low hurdle to clear indeed, but, you know.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

People who buy this atrocious product are being incredibly dumb.  You can throw a good quality pasta, meat, and veg dish together in minutes. 

Daniel
Daniel

@ScottsMerkin  The only people who would begrudge you the occasional meal of quick, processed junk are either a) not parents themselves or b) insufferable ones.   

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@NewsDog Now, that's funny.  I could think of a few, like, Foie Gras Helper, or Tripes à la Mode de Caen Helper.......

Daniel
Daniel

@NewsDog The key ingredient is all the corn starch they put in there. Old-school white-trash way to make a meal filling. 

Daniel
Daniel

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz I'd rather eat Hamburger Helper than tripes. Gussying up a plate of shit-tubes by calling it something French just isn't good enough. (By the way, "Caen" is an Old French term for a tall, thin man. Despite the pleasing, fluid prosody of its name, the dish you reference is "Shit tubes in the fashion of a thin man." Now that's gonna take a lot of helper.)

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@scott.reitz @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz 

The caking is a lie.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@Daniel Tripe is stomach lining, not intestinal lining, and Caen is a city in Normandy.

The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley
The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley

@TheCredibleHulk @The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley 

It's not competition chili.  But I'm not competing so yes, it is chili.  Until I see a ruling by The All Knowing Ruler of All Things Culinary and Gastronomic, I will continue to add beans and call it chili.    

Daniel
Daniel

@Sharon_Moreanus Yes, but putting beans in chili besmirches the legacy of William B. Travis, affronts the hoary ghost of Sam Houston, and can only be ascribed to unforgivable ignorance or treasonous intent.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @ScottsMerkin the kid eats like a king, rotisserie chicken, brisket, pork shoulders, hamburger, fresh veggies and fruit.  This mornin though he had a pancake some frosted lucky charms and fresh cut cantaloupe.  

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