Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sign of the Times, Spam Sales Rising

Spam's maker, Hormel Foods Corp., reported last week that it saw strong sales of Spam in the second quarter, helping push up its profits 14 percent. According to sales information coming from Hormel, provided by The Nielsen Co., Spam sales were up 10.6 percent in the 12-week period ending May 3, compared to last year. In the last 24 weeks, sales were up nearly 9 percent.

I know, I know it isn't very nice but it is cheap and it is protein. People are grabbing a can or two to have on the shelf because it keeps too and will be there when the fridge is bare.

I grew up in an upper level "White Trash" home and Spam was no stranger at the table and neither was Vienna Sausage or Deviled Ham. I grew up thinking it was just fine and it was only later that I realized that it wasn't so hot when it came to 'cuisine'.

I really thought I had put Spam behind me after a couple of years in Europe but then came the transfer to Hawaii and Spam was back with a vengeance. Ever since the rationing in and after WWII Spam has been popular in Hawaii. Evidently there was many a time during the war when the only meat that was affordable and even available was Spam. Even after the rationing and the war Spam didn't fall out of popularity and hence a whole cuisine has developed around Spam.
The true Hawaiian pizza is not ham and pineapple but Spam and pineapple.

Anyhow, there are hundreds of ways to serve Spam and some are actually pretty tasty. I think my favorite is the grilled Spam and pineapple sandwich but musubi or Spam over rice is not too bad can even make Spam sushi.

Regardless of the merits of Spam as a food or its value as a protein source it is a definite sign of the times that Hormel has seen a 10% increase in sales recently. It's cheap and doesn't spoil like fresh meat. I don't have any in my larder presently but I may pause by the Spam shelf on my next trip through the grocery. We can always claim that we are trying to recapture our childhood or having a Hawaiian themed party.

BTW The rumors that the Hawaiians like Spam because it tastes like "long pig" isn't true. I don't think anyone as produced any definitive evidence that the Hawaiians practiced cannibalism. Besides I have it from a very knowledgeable authority that there is no comparison. Grok?

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