The little blue can of the past, present and future!

When the first SPAM® Can came off the production line in 1937, the world was forever changed. This revolutionary new product won over the hearts of soldiers, world leaders, celebrities, chefs, kids and parents. Gracie Allen, Dwight Eisenhower, Margaret Thatcher and Monty Python all have sung praises of SPAM® products. And future generations continue to enjoy it as a versatile, high-quality and great-tasting meal-time favorite. The whole world can’t get enough of the iconic taste and the effortless meal creativity contained within this little blue can.

Six Simple Ingredients

Ah, the age-old question; what is the meat in that special can of SPAM® Classic? Many myths abound, but the answer is actually quite simple.

SPAM® Brand History

SPAM® Brand Fun Facts


How are SPAM® products made?

Simple things are often the best, and that is certainly true when it comes to how SPAM® products are made.

  • First, the cuts of pork and ham are ground. This is the main ingredient, with SPAM® Classic containing 91% pork and ham.
  • Next water, salt, sugar, potato starch and sodium nitrate are added and mixed for 20 minutes.
  • From there, it’s over to the canning line, where it’s tipped into those iconic metal cans.
  • Once filled, it’s off to the closing machine where lids are applied through vacuum-sealing.
  • Next, the cans are cooked and cooled for about three hours. By cooking SPAM® in vacuum-sealed cans, it can stay fresh and not need as much sodium nitrate to preserve it. 
  • But the cans can’t leave naked. Labels are applied and then they’re ready to be cased, shipped and enjoyed around the world.

How did the SPAM® brand earn a place in the history books?

This delicious American icon and global brand launched in 1937 as “The Meat of Many Uses!” and American households quickly ate it up. By 1940, 70 percent of urban Americans were eating SPAM® products. But it was the arrival of WWII, and the need for easily transported protein, that fuelled the SPAM® brand’s incredible growth around the world. Today, with over a dozen varieties sold in more than 40 countries, this 79-year-old brand continues to ignite invention all over the world.  

In America, people come from far and wide to visit the SPAM® Museum. Located in Austin, Minneapolis (the birthplace of SPAM® brand), this museum is a curation of all things SPAM® brand, and pays tribute to its presence across the world.

In 1998, SPAM® product packaging was donated to the Smithsonian. How many meat products can boast such a distinction?

All of this passion and demand has amounted to this: in 2012, the eighth-billionth can of SPAM® product was produced. And there are now 12.8 cans of SPAM® products eaten every second. That’s something to chew on.

What do SPAM® products taste like?

They taste like a wonderful combination of pork and ham – because that’s what they are. And that’s what makes the taste unique.

Most people in Australia grew up with SPAM® Classic on sandwiches, but if you haven’t tried grilled or fried SPAM® products, you’re missing out. The sizzle creates quite a different texture and caramelises the flavour of the pork and ham. 

Somewhere in between a pork sausage and bacon. Mmmmmm.

What does the SPAM® brand name mean?

There are some questions that continually plague man over time. Questions like, 'Is there intelligent life beyond Earth?' and 'What is the meaning of the SPAM® brand name?'

Unfortunately, we can’t provide answers to either. The significance of the SPAM® brand name has long been a subject of speculation. One popular belief says it’s derived from the words 'spiced ham'. The real answer is known by only a small circle of former Hormel Foods executives. And probably Nostradamus.

What is the best way to eat SPAM® products?

The answer is different depending on what part of the world you’re from.

In Australia, more and more people are throwing it on the BBQ. Slice it thin and it sizzles up nicely. You’ll also find it’s a handy, cupboard-ready substitute for sausages. The SPAM® Sizzle could be the next big thing at your sausage sizzle!

And whenever you’ve eaten fried rice, you’ve probably been eating SPAM® products . Its firm texture and big flavour hit makes it a great addition to stir fries and Asian-inspired cooking.

Globally, sandwiches are still very popular, but the versatility of this delicious meat provides endless meal options. By the time you asked every SPAM® Brand lover out there, the responses would likely include grilled, fried, in a taco, on a bun, as a snack, for supper, and even straight out of the can. There are countless ways to enjoy SPAM® products, and no wrong way.

What is the shelf life of SPAM® products?

While the keeper of an emergency underground bunker might have you believe SPAM® products offer eternal freshness, there is, in fact, a limit to their goodness. On the bottom of every can of SPAM® product you’ll find a "best by" date. This is the date Hormel Foods recommends using the product by. You’ll likely find yourself gobbling up the delicious meat inside the can long before that date. But if you find yourself sitting on a stock of SPAM® products during a zombie invasion, be sure to check the date before you enjoy.

What makes SPAM® Brand so popular around the world?

In South Korea, a SPAM® brand gift pack is given to family and friends during the Thanksgiving and Lunar New Year holidays. SPAM® products are regarded as luxury goods, with gift packs selling for as much as $45 AUD. So if you travel there for business, leave the cigars at home and pick up this delicacy for an introductory exchange.

In Hawaii, SPAM® products are practically the national food. It’s served everywhere from grocery store delis to fancy restaurants. Even McDonald’s features several SPAM® items on their breakfast menu. This fanaticism fuels sales of 7 million cans of SPAM® products per year in the Aloha State.

Guam may be a tiny island, but its appetite for SPAM® products is humongous. How humongous, you say? The average annual SPAM® product consumption comes out to 16 cans per person. Guam has also been the site of SPAM® Games, where locals sample and honour the best original SPAM® recipes.

Even those blokes in the UK love SPAM® products. Of course, it’s prepared in proper British style in a dish called SPAM® fritters. Similar to English fish ‘n chips, SPAM® products are dipped in batter and deep-fried. Once it’s good and crispy, it’s ready to serve - with a side of vinegar, of course.