When there's a food shortage, consumers tend to grasp at straws, searching high and low for a solution to their problem. And that's exactly what Hamburger Helper was when it got its start — a solution. According to General Mills, America's weakened beef economy in the 1970s led to the launch of Hamburger Helper as a promise to stretch people's dollar (and their beef) further.
A meat crisis in 1972, caused by a change in the population of anchovies, drove up the cost of beef even more. As it turns out, farmers were relying on the anchovies as animal feed, and as less were in the supply chain, feed prices increased, causing beef prices to skyrocket.
With the rise in beef prices, even more American families were introduced to their new best friend — Hamburger Helper — which helped them to use just one pound of beef, paired with the box mix, to put dinner on the table for their family.