The Big Mac Index was conceived by The Economist back in 1986 as a way of measuring CPI (Consumer Price Index) using McDonald’s Big Mac as their “basket of goods” rather than a traditional basket of goods. The idea stuck and The Economist has continued to publish the index up to the present day.
While doing a research project for an International Monetary Policy class, I came across the Big Mac Index and needed the data going all the way back to 1986. Come to find out, that information was not available anywhere online, only on microfilm. So after about 10 hours of scrolling through films, copying and pasting images of the index, and converting them into spreadsheet format, BigMacIndex.org was born.
The hurdles that I went through to get that data was enough to convince me to start selling the spreadsheet, figuring that others could benefit from it as well. The value proposition is that paying $15 will save you 10 hours of work compiling the data yourself and to this day, the data going back to 1986 is ONLY available on BigMacIndex.org, not even on The Economist’s own website (they have data going back to 2000 at this point).