Sales of SPAM on the rise
As food prices continue to rise, consumers like you and I are constantly on the look-out for ways to trim our spending. As a result, sales of Spam are also on the rise. Regardless of how you feel about SPAM, it is cheap costing on average $2.62 per can.
Sales of SPAM (the canned meat, not the unsolicited email) are rising as consumers turn more to lower-cost foods to extend their already stretched food category in their budgets.
The MSNBC reports that “U.S. food prices rose 4 percent last year, the fastest pace in nearly two decades, according to the Agriculture Department. Many staples are rising even faster, with white bread up 13 percent last year, bacon up 7 percent and peanut butter up 9 percent. There’s no sign of a slowdown. Food inflation is running at an annualized rate of 6.1 percent as of April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”
Seems the trend is only going to get worse before it gets better. Even the price of SPAM is up although the price increase isn’t negatively impacting sales. The low cost of SPAM makes it an attractive buy for frugal consumers.
What is Spam anyway?
Ever wonder what’s in that famous metal blue can? I know I have. Surprisingly it isn’t such a big “mystery meat” after all. According the Amazing SPAM Home Page, the ingredients are as follows:
- chopped pork shoulder meat with ham meat added
- salt (for binding, flavor, and firmness)
- water (to help in mixing)
- sugar (for flavor)
- sodium Nitrite (for color and as a preservative)
Not as weird as you thought huh? The only two things that made me go “hmmm..” where: The difference in pork and ham and sodium nitrite?
Turns out, sodium nitrate is an ingredient found in many processed meats and is added for two reasons:
- Preserves the red/pink color of cooked meat
- Inhibit botulism
The jury is still out on whether sodium nitrate is bad for us. Of course consumed in large quantities it has caused cancer in lab animals but canned meats contain very low quantities of sodium nitrate. I wouldn’t recommend eating 10 cans at a time or anything.
As for the difference in pork and ham? Turns out to be an easy answer: Pork is anything from pig and ham is a part of the pig.
Ham is to pork as steak is to beef. So SPAM is mostly chopped shoulder meat with ham added in to make it taste better.
Some Spam Statistics
Here are some interesting statistics on SPAM:
- In the United States, 3.8 cans of SPAM are consumed every second.
- Hawaiians eat an average of four cans of SPAM per person per year (this is the highest SPAM consumption rate per capita in the world).
- Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia eats a SPAM and mayonnaise sandwich three times a week.
- Nikita Krushchev credited SPAM with the survival of the WWII Russian army. Quothe the Krushchev: “Without SPAM, we wouldn’t have been able to feed our army.”
The internet is full of SPAM recipes and having tried a few over the course of my years some of them are pretty good. Here are some links to just a few of the more notable sites:
Let me know if you find one you particularly like!
I’ve been eating SPAM off and on since as far back as I remember. I recall my mom frying it, making sandwiches and mixing it in with eggs. I honestly like the flavor. There is something about eating meat from a can that makes me a little nervous, but I’m okay with it. I’m 38 years old and still alive :-)
We don’t eat SPAM much, but my wife does on occasion grab a can, fry it up and make sandwiches or SPAM burgers. It makes for something a little different and our kids seem to really like it. I really like it mixed in with scrambled eggs.
How about you? Do you eat SPAM? What are your thoughts about it? Add a comment!
Photo by: janetgalore