SPAM was developed in the late 1920s under the brand name “Hormel Spiced Ham.” The world economic crisis of that decade saw a reduced supply of pork and the launch was rolled out. During the 1937’s New Year Eve, Hormel held a naming contest in the hope of having a brand name that can compete effectively in the market. During the competition, Kenneth Daigneau introduced the SPAM concept, and he ended up pocketing $100. Coming up with names can make you rich? On July 5, 1937, SPAM debuted and within one year, it had accumulated 18% shares in the Americans.
2. The Fellowship
Not literally a church but did you know that for every person who hates SPAM there is an overwhelming horde of SPAM worshipers dedicated to keeping this brand alive? You too can become a holy brethren by friending them on Facebook.
3. The Acronym SPAM Means?
Honestly, nobody knows for sure. People regard it as mystery meat. Theories are suggesting that SPAM means “Spiced Ham,” while others go for “Shoulders of Pork and Ham.” The worst speculations come from those who call it “Specifically Processes Artificial Meat,” Specially Processed American Meat,” or “Something Pose as Meat.” Anyway, who cares? SPAM is a too big product to fit in acronyms. If you still wonder what the name means, join the craze. We also don’t know. The joke is on us.
4. SPAM, the Last Line of Defense during World War II
The World War II saw soldiers facing starvation in the battlefields. When desperate times called for more drastic measures, troops turned to canned food. The need for long life protein foods was overwhelmingly insane. When SPAM hit the shelves, it became an obsession to the troops stationed on the Pacific front. Since it does not need refrigeration, a novel phenomenon in those days, soldiers became fanatics of the brand. Hormel shipped over 15 million SPAM cans a week to soldiers. Talking of troops and consumption, Russia Premier Nikita Khrushchev said that without SPAM, the Russian army might have starved to death!
5. SPAM the Icon
Believe it, or not SPAM is a pop icon. Story time; in 1970 there lived a famous skit called the Monty Python Flying Circus. The characters conjured songs all mentioning SPAM hundreds of time. In the sketch show, diners in the cafeteria had all their breakfast options having a SPAM delicacy. You know how a SPAM email fills up in-boxes around the globe; well SPAM flooded the internet and mail boxes making it a craze. In 2004, the musical “Spamalot” was resurrected becoming a pop icon of the decade. Also, SPAM JAM holds an annual SPAM celebration in Waikiki. Every year, the meat lovers shut down Kalakaua Ave, to treat over 25,000 locals and tourists alike with creative SPAM dishes such as SPAM fries, SPAM noodles, SPAM tacos, SPAM desserts, SPAM chips and a whole congregation of SPAM foods. SPAM is a big deal in Hawaii.
6. The Insane Production
Talking about troops having SPAM as their staple diet makes us wonder how the corporation managed to produce such amounts. History records that the American allied forces of World War II consumed approximately 100 million pounds of SPAM. In 2007, Hormel produced 7 billion cans to feed the insatiable global market. Anyway, history aside; Research indicates that Hormel cranks out 44,000 (33,000 pounds) SPAM cans hourly to be consumed in 41 countries. The world seems gaga over SPAM to consume it at these wild levels.
7. What is this Canned Meat Anyway?
This mystery meat is not all that mystic. Hormel says that SPAM is pork shoulder, ham, sugar, salt, water, sodium nitrate, and potato starch. In short, SPAM defers from a hot dog mainly because the canned meat is cooked in the can. The ingredients are prepared by mixing them together before pumping into individual containers. Down the conveyor belt, everything from sealing, cooling, and labeling takes place in a can.
8. The Most Committed Consumer
Guam takes the trophy home. Did you know that Guam, famous for the US military post, is the world leading consumer of SPAM? Researchers say that every person in Guam consumes about 16 cans per year! That is insane! For the home front, Hawaii is the largest SPAM market in the Americans. Yearly, the Hawaiians chow down about 7 million cans of SPAM every year. How is that possible? In Hawaii SPAM is a household name, a cultural mainstay, a local food comfort and the best thing about Musubi. In fact, touring Hawaii without trying out the canned meat is unheard. So schedule a visit to Honolulu in the last week of April and jam out with your SPAM.
9. The Philippines are Feeling the Vibe
If you thought SPAM is an American addiction, you’ve got it wrong. The Philippines are rocking this diet. The “SPAM Jam” restaurant seems to be feeling the vibe extraordinarily. Favorite dishes in the SPAM Jam include SPAM eggs and SPAM spaghetti. The SPAM gift is a traditional wedding gift in the country. Care to applause as we welcome the Philippines to the SPAM department?
10. What about the SPAM Museum?
Smirking at the Philippines for being SPAM fanatics? You better slow down Judge Judy because Americans still top the SPAM department addiction list. Minnesota is home to the official SPAM Museum which harbors “Spambassadors”- they know the entire Hormel history by heart! In the museum, visitors get top-notch exhibits where live cooking demos are demonstrated. Plus if you like, you can pack and seal your SPAM can.
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