The Hamburger Helper Spin-Off You Probably Forgot Existed

Hamburger Helper has been a staple of dinner tables since its introduction in the 1970s. Born of a meat shortage early in that decade, the mixture helped families stretch a pound of ground beef into a meal that could feed everyone. It wasn't long before the brand expanded beyond beef to other ingredients. One Hamburger Helper spin-off you probably never heard of helped families with dessert. Say hello (and goodbye) to Fruit Helper. 

Hitting shelves in 1973, Fruit Helper was something of a middle child for the brand, appearing after the introduction of Tuna Helper but before Chicken and Pork Helper joined the product line. While the product has been mostly forgotten, some scraps of information remain. For one, it appears that Fruit Helper came in both vanilla and strawberry flavors. Shoppers also remember coconut and lemon pudding Fruit Helper in stores for a limited time. 

By combining the product with 16 or 30 ounces of canned fruit, consumers could enjoy a speedy dessert in just 90 seconds. So what happened to Fruit Helper, and why can't you find it in stores today?

Fruit Helper: lost to time

 Sadly, Fruit Helper is one of those discontinued flavors that we will never eat again. The Hamburger Helper spin-off never made it out of the '70s. Unfortunately, for those who enjoyed the product, General Mills opted to remove it from shelves. While no reason was given, it's likely that it just failed to catch on with consumers. 

It's a fate that has befallen several of Hamburger Helpers off-shoots. While Tuna Helper and Chicken Helper both proved to have staying power and continue to delight shoppers, the same cannot be said about Pork Helper. Released a couple of decades after Fruit Helper, Pork Helper was just as short-lived for the brand and was discontinued not long after its 2003 debut. 

That's par for the course when it comes to food in general. Companies will often experiment with new variations on the formula, but they're not all winners. Besides, with as many different flavors and variations as Hamburger Helper has launched over the years, who knows if Fruit Helper might make a comeback?