Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam… is there any food product in existence that’s been mocked more than Spam? Twinkies, possibly, but deep down, everyone secretly loves Twinkies. We can’t say the same thing for Spam. When it comes to Spam you either love it or you hate it, and it’s actually one of the more fascinating food products out there, with a long, wild history. We’ve assembled 11 facts that you probably didn’t know about this legendary lunchmeat.
Spam (or officially, SPAM), was introduced by the Hormel Foods Corporation in 1937. At the time, the fact that meat could be kept fresh for years by canning it was incredibly novel. It was rationed to troops during World War II, and while the Europeans the GI’s exposed to the canned meat largely didn’t want to have anything to do with it (except for the British), those on the Pacific front fell in love with it, and it’s still extremely popular there to this day.
After the war, Hormel launched a massive publicity campaign for the canned ham, recruiting a group of former servicewomen, whom they dubbed the ‘Hormel Girls,’ to tour the country promoting the product. By 1948 the group had swelled to 60 women with a 16-piece orchestra, and they were even given a radio show which aired until the group disbanded in 1953.
Spam has kept a relatively low profile since then, living out its lengthy shelf-life in the canned foods section of supermarkets and convenience stores worldwide while keeping its cult-following strong and continuing to fend off canned-meat competitors like Treet. Gone are the days when Hormel would actively use Spam in advertising campaigns to create wonders of nature like the Spam Upside Down Pie or the Spamburger Hamburger. Today, there are 14 varieties of Spam available around the world, including Turkey Spam, Teriyaki Spam, and Spam with bacon, chorizo, or cheese. There’s also a Spam Spread, hickory smoke-flavored Spam, and Spam “Meals for 1” including Spam & Sausage Jambalaya, Spam & Penne Pasta in Alfredo Sauce, and Spam & Red Beans with Rice.
Whether you’re a Spamaholic, an occasional dabbler, or complete Spam novice, we’re sure that you’ll find these facts about the world’s most famous luncheon loaf fascinating. So read on to learn 11 things you didn’t know about Spam.