10 Interesting Things About SPAM

Spam is 85 years old today What was initially thought of as a kind of “poor man’s meat” has become one of the US cultural icons and one of the most popular canned meat in the world today. You’re just as likely to see a can of Spam stored in every grocery around the world.

But there are lots of things that we don’t know about Spam and sometimes is kind of a mystery to us. So we’ll just gather a few little tidbits and interesting facts for those of us who can’t get enough of it.

1. SPAM early days

Image source: https://www.defensemedianetwork.com/stories/war-won-spam-things/

Spam was born in 1937 by Hormel Foods, after an increased need for canned food items. Spam became a staple food for US troops during World War II. Other allied troops like the french and the Brits, kind of hated it, but those stationed on the Pacific front loved it. Spam is still a hit in that geographical area (especially in Hawaii and the Philippines) even today.

2. SPAM acronym? 

Spam was sometimes called “mystery meat” because most people didn’t know its meaning or what it stands for. Some say it’s  “Shoulders of Pork and Ham.” or “Spiced Ham”.  Others are creative in figuring out the meaning and thought Spam could stand for “Something Posing As Meat” or “Specifically Processed Artificial Meat.” 

The thing is it is hard to find the real answer because even the recent executives in Hormel don’t actually know.

3. Spam was a WW2 staple food

Image source: https://www.defensemedianetwork.com/stories/war-won-spam-things/

When World War 2 broke out, Spam was a hit among the troops because it was a meat that required no refrigeration. We’re kind of weirded out about the whole no refrigeration thing, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

4. Spam as a pop culture icon

Image source: http://kapitankokak.blogspot.com/2012/07/spam.html

From wartime superstar to pop culture icon, Spam has been undeniably one of the most popular canned meat in the US. In 1970, it made a lengthy appearance in a scene from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, which resulted in all characters breaking out into a song about Spam.

5. There are 44,000 cans of Spam produced every hour

Image source: https://www.hormelfoods.com/newsroom/in-the-news/what-is-spam-anyway/

Even though Spam is available globally, this production number is still wild. 44,000 cans produced every hour? That equates to 33,000 pounds. Looks like Spam is still alive and well in the culinary scheme of things.

6. Spam, a slice of mystery meat?

Image source: https://www.pinterest.ph/pin/391039180116244277/

Like what we mentioned earlier, Spam has always had a bad rap for being considered a “mystery meat,” but Hormel has been pretty honest about its ingredients all along.

The classic Spam is made up of pork shoulder, ham, salt, water, sugar, potato starch, and sodium nitrate. The type of meat in Spam is actually supposed to be much less sketchy than what you’d find in your standard hot dog.

7. 7 million cans of Spam per year in Hawaii

Image source: https://migrationology.com/spam-musubi-hawaii/

Hawaii is the biggest consumer of Spam in the World. This is probably as a result of those Word War II soldiers on the Pacific coasts falling in love with the stuff. Spam is a centerpiece in the groceries in Hawaii – they’re also featured at the regional McDonald’s locations and even on the menus at high-end restaurants.

8. The Spam restaurant in the Philippines

The Philippines has a deep history with Spam that started during WW2. Actually, the country is home to a notable restaurant called “Spam-Jam,” which serves a whole menu full of dishes featuring the meat. Their food includes Spam spaghetti, Spam eggs, and even a Spam gift set, that is actually widely considered by Filipinos to be a very thoughtful wedding gift.

9. The Spam museum in Minnesota

Image source: https://www.spam.com/museum

There is a SPAM museum in Austin, Minnesota. Like any museum, there are curators called “Spambassadors” who lead tours and they can recite the entire Hormel history by memory.

The museum also features a variety of attractions like interactive Spam puzzles, Spammeter, and an exhibit that allows you to pack Spam yourself.

10. The Spam Travelling Musical Troupe

Image source: https://britishperioddramas.com/news/spamalot-musical-movie-version/

Hormel takes their marketing very seriously. Even though it became a Food staple after World War II, the company even launched a huge campaign for Spamto to maintain its legacy.

And one of its biggest campaigns is the “Hormel Girls”, a troupe of female performers who traveled the country promoting the product. At its peak, this group featured over 60 women accompanied by a live orchestra and their own radio show to boot.

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