The canned meat Spam may not seem very impressive (or edible) at first glance, but in reality, Spam is one of the most unique and interesting foods to ever be developed for consumption. It may not be the most glamorous food out there, but it’s more than worth taking a look at the history of this iconic product.
Spam is extremely popular in Hawaii
- For some reason, the state of Hawaii has a bit of an obsession with Spam, with around seven million products sold to the state every year. It is also served at some Hawaii McDonald’s locations on the breakfast menu.
Spam was invented during the Great Depression
- Spam’s reputation as one of the hardiest, affordable, and long-lasting meat products made it a perfect fit for one of America’s hardest financial periods. Sales records also report that every time America faces an economic recession, Spam sales rise dramatically.
The Spam ingredients list is surprisingly simple
- Spam may seem like a heavily processed food product, but in reality, only six ingredients go into making this food item. They include pork, salt, water, potato starch, sugar, and sodium nitrate.
Spam’s name is a mystery
- The origin of Spam’s name is a well-known mystery, with some records stating that the name stands for “spiced ham”, others saying it represents “shoulder of pork and ham”. Hormel, the creators of Spam, actually joke about the origin of the name on their website, saying, “The real answer is known by only a small circle of former Hormel Foods executives. And probably Nostradamus.”
Spam was featured on television
- The sketch comedy show, “Monty Python and the Flying Circus”, released a sketch involving the two-billionth can of Spam in 1970. This was also the first time Spam was featured on TV.
Spam is cooked inside of the can
- Technically, it would not be unhealthy to eat Spam straight out of the can, uncooked. This may be inadvisable for taste reasons, but because Spam cooks its meat after it is packaged inside of the can, it would not be a health hazard.
There is a restaurant based all-around Spam
- A Philippines restaurant, The Spam Jam, features a wide array of Spam based products. These include Spam sushi, the Spamburger, and Spam and eggs.
A museum is dedicated to Spam
- The Spam museum first opened in Austin, Minnesota in 1992. This is also the town where Spam houses its main factory.
Spam was used during World War II
- During World War II, Spam was one of the primary products used to feed allied troops. It is estimated that over 100 million pounds of Spam was shipped overseas to feed the troops.
There’s a low sodium version
- Spam may be great, but it’s not so great for those of us who have to monitor our sodium intake. Luckily, Spam released a low-sodium version of the product in 1986.
Because Spam is an export product for the United States, it is sold on a worldwide scale in countries such as China, Singapore, and Europe, as well as other developed countries.
As listed on the official Spam website, there are numerous different flavors of Spam products, including:
- Spam Classic – original flavor
- Spam Hot & Spicy – with Tabasco flavor
- Jalapeño Spam
- Spam with Black Pepper
- Spam Low Sodium – “25% less sodium”
- Spam Lite – “33% fewer calories, 25% less sodium, and 50% less fat” – made from pork with ham, and mechanically separated chicken
- Spam Oven Roasted Turkey
- Spam Hickory Smoked
- Spam Spread – “if you’re a spreader, not a slicer … just like Spam Classic, but in a spreadable form”
- Spam Bacon
- Spam Cheese
- Spam Garlic
- Spam Teriyaki
- Spam Chorizo
- Spam Boricua – seasoned Puerto Rican-style flavor
- Spam Macadamia Nuts – Partnered with Hamakua Plantation
- Spam Turkey
- Spam Tocino
- Spam Portuguese Sausage
- Spam Pumpkin Spice – limited edition variety released in late September 2019
Spam’s marketing strategy is one of the best known and successful in the history of American business, as the name “Spam” has become a household term. In order to make their product stand out and be marketable to consumers, they have made Spam one of the most recognizable food brands in America and around the world. They have successfully marketed the product as “cleaner than garbage, cheaper than meat, and more delicious than ham”.