Easier isn’t always better
Betty Crocker cake mix is one of General Mills’ most successful inventions.
However, when it was first launched in the 1950s, it didn’t get off to the best of starts.
The product was targeted at busy housewives so the recipe was designed to make it as easy as possible for the chef.
All they needed to do was add water to the mix and then place it in the oven.
What seemed like a great idea in theory was not so good in practice and initial sales figures were poor.
General Mills turned to a group of psychologists to try and understand why.
They concluded that by making the process so easy, the housewives didn’t feel like they were putting in enough of an effort for their loved ones.
They made the process a bit harder by requiring the cook to add an egg to the mixture before baking.
With this simple change, sales shot up and the same recipe is still in use today.
This phenomenon is known as ‘The Ikea effect’ after the Swedish manufacturer of self-assembly furniture. It’s billionaire founder Ingvar Kamprad was convinced that the effort involved in assembling its future after you had bought it added to its perceived value.
It seems we love some things more if we’ve put some reasonable effort into making them.
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