“Adding value” is the basis for all modern business. The term essentially means that every time a manufacturer or vendor transforms an item into something more useful for the consumer, he can add another layer of profitability for his efforts.

For example, you could buy a whole live pig for say $200, butcher it yourself in your bathtub, and if you had the right skills, separate out the various parts for a fraction of what the butcher would sell them for. And if you built a smokehouse, you could probably make your own bacon for about 50 cents a pound. Bacon in the store costs about $6 a pound because a whole slew of people have “added value” on your behalf to the original raw pig through various stages in the production process.  Only you can judge whether or not that value is worth it. Many “Hippies” love to grow their own food, and “get in touch” with nature at a very intimate level that includes slaughtering and smoking their own animals. I, do not!

There is however, a point at which the value of the added value rapidly diminishes. An excellent example, continuing with the bacon theme, is Ready Crisp (and other brands) of pre-cooked bacon. Here, the manufacturer has gone the final step and actually cooked (microwaved in large batches) the bacon for you and packaged it in convenient pouches. Not a bad idea, and the bacon is certainly perfectly and healthfully (as healthful as bacon can be!) cooked to perfection. But at what cost?

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I did a little experiment: I checked the cost for a 65 gram pack of Ready Crisp at the grocery store. It sells for $5.99. For that same $5.99 I bought a premium brand of smoked bacon and microwaved it on paper towels. It took about 10 minutes to prepare. From that 450 gram (1 pound) pack I got 155 grams of cooked bacon; almost 2½ times the Ready Crisp bacon. I essentially put about $9 in my pocket in savings for the equivalent amount of cooked bacon! $9 for 10 minutes effort. $54 an hour! Not too shabby for 7 AM in my pyjamas and slippers.

I wonder how many people who DON’T make $54 per hour in their work, actually buy Ready Crisp bacon. I bet quite a few.

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