Origins of SPAM: Celebrating 80 Years of the Canned Meat
You can grill it, fry it, or eat it right out of the can — we’re talking Spam, the canned meat product that’s been feeding families around the globe for over 80 years.
Produced by the Hormel Foods Corporation in Austin, Minn., this canned ham has been a staple on supermarket shelves since 1937. And while many automatically think of Spam as something you’d stock in your bunkers in preparation of a zombie apocalypse, it’s actually remained popular among non-bunker folk for a long time.
“The origins of Spam started pretty simply,” says Tim Fritz, the vice president of Hormel’s operations for grocery products. “[Hormel CEO] Jay Hormel had a concept of creating a convenience meat item that could be utilized every day … and July 5, 1937, the first can of Spam rolled off the production line.”
But what about the name? Jay Hormel didn’t know what to call it at first, so he set up a contest at a New Year’s party in 1936, promising $100 to the winner. An actor and friend claimed the prize after suggesting “Spam.”