Spam Starts New Ad Campaign Today – Not Via Unsolicited E-mail

Spam. It’s cheap, it’s versatile, and I’ve been told that some people even find it edible. Sales of all canned food, including canned meat, are up in the recession, and Hormel’s new strategy is to promote Spam as something different for people to rotate into their monotonous meal plans.

It’s not like there’s a shortage of Spam cookbooks out there as it is, but Hormel is offering exciting new uses for the stuff.

Sales of canned foods, especially canned meat, have been rising in the recession as people limit their food spending because they usually cost less than fresh fruits, vegetables or meat, said Marcia Mogelonsky, an analyst with research firm Mintel.

“They’re an alternative to just eggs or a sandwich or whatever,” she said. “It extends a meal. It adds a protein.”

This year, the campaign focuses on customers who may be having trouble coming up with ideas for new meals each night, said Dan Goldman, senior product manager for the Spam family of products. Hormel is suggesting easy updates – like including Spam in pasta dishes – that offer uniqueness, he said.

Uniqueness. Yeah. That’s the word I’d use.

New ads present Spam as spark for lively meals [AOL News/AP]

(Photo: catastrophegirl)

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  1. KhaiJB says:

    I have this nightmare where all there is to eat is spam. god I hate that stuff.. it tastes artificial and wrong..

  2. johnfrombrooklyn says:

    I love Spam!!! Delicious by itself; delicious fried between two pieces of white bread; wonderful mixed with Mac n Cheese; amazing scrambled with eggs. It’s cheap. It’s substantial. It’s the perfect food.

    • Preyfar says:

      @johnfrombrooklyn: It definitely has a unique taste, and I have to admit to mocking Spam any chance I can have… but, uh, yeah, I really enjoy a fried Smoked Spam ‘n’ cheese sandwich from time to time.

      It tastes vibrantly ghetto. Lots of flavor with a low price tag.

      . . .

      Although that jelly encasing the Spam still scares the ever loving hell out of me.

    • edwardso says:

      @johnfrombrooklyn: I grew up on spam hash and eggs and the spamburger, and although I have been repulsed by it in the last decade I think I’m warming up to the idea of eating it again. It reminds me of my dad

    • zonk7ate9 says:

      @johnfrombrooklyn: I don’t think I could ever buy it because I’d be embarassed in the checkout line. Plus, I have no desire to try “artifical” meat.

    • tenners says:

      @johnfrombrooklyn: i LOVE spam with mac & cheese. my mom used to make it all the time for my brother and i when we were kids.

  3. Ronin-Democrat says:

    don’t knock spam.
    while lots of consumerist readers may be in a position to use other things, there are people suffering and they can use an alternative to add to their shopping list.

    better than eating dollar menu slop me thinks.

    • rpm773 says:

      @Ronin-Democrat:

      there are people suffering

      Is that before or after the first bite?

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      @Ronin-Democrat: Oh definately. I personally hate the stuff, but it has a long shelf life, relatively cheap, does the trick. Nothing wrong with it.

      I find it a little outrageous that they want to show people how spam can fit into every meal or the majority- Sales are up! People are eating it! There are cook books catered for Spam cookers… They should offer their loyal customers a chance for a free cookbook with 20 proofs of purchase.

      • U-235 says:

        @verucalise: If they can get more people to eat Spam and integrate it into their eating habits in arenas they usually wouldn’t think to not only will they sell more now, but they will be more likely to continue selling more after the recession ends and people can afford better meats. Thats my guess at least.

    • bohemian says:

      @Ronin-Democrat: A can of spam is about $3.49 and I don’t think it is even a pound of meat. You can get plenty of fresh meat for cheaper. Burger is $1.89, chicken breast on sale for 99 cents, ground turkey $1.70. Spam is not cheap.

      It is shelf stable meat. I would only consider buying it if I needed some sort of back up emergency food supply.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        @bohemian: Exactly. I’d only keep it around with my canned veggies for a backup. I don’t think chicken breasts are generally anywhere near .99 on sale, but a pound is probably always less than the $3.49 sticker price on Spam.

      • edwardso says:

        @bohemian: not sure where you live but it’s usually on sale for cheap around here

      • HogwartsAlum says:

        @bohemian:

        But…but…it’s salty Spammy goodness!

        I like it but I can only eat about a can a year. Eating it is like eating a bite of chopped ham and then a spoonful of salt. Bite of ham, spoon of salt. Ad infinitum.

      • tcolberg says:

        @bohemian: Speaking of shelf stable, I found that Costco has these cans of chicken breast meat in water. They work pretty well for salad topping and sandwiches. Seems a lot less fatty than Spam looks to be. I should figure out a few more ways to use that canned chicken.

  4. Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

    “They’re an alternative to just eggs or a sandwich or whatever,” she said. “It extends a meal. It adds a protein.”

    Eggs are relatively cheap. So are peanut butter and bread. Both add protein, and are probably much healthier.

    Their sales are up, without the extra “campaigning” they are pursuing now. Take the extra money you want to spend on advertising, and set it aside for a rainy day when sales are going DOWN.

    Personally, I hate spam. I’d rather wait for a meat sale and buy 1/2 a boneless ham, cook and slice it up for future meals then freeze in individual bags.

  5. thesadtomato says:

    In England, after WWII, food rationing went on basically through the early ’50s. I knew a woman who had grown up in the this period and most of her meat was SPAM. SPAM all the time. She said she could remember the first banana she ever had a taste of; heaven.

    There’s nasty rumor I heard that formerly cannibalistic cultures in the Pacific eat a lot of SPAM because it tastes something like human flesh.

  6. missy070203 says:

    OMG I love spam sliced fried in a pan and made into a sandwich — freaking great mystery meat

  7. ekthesy says:

    As a vegetarian, I probably have no right to weigh in on this topic, but it seems to me that if you can eat a hot dog, you should be able to eat Spam with no problem.

    I think that Spam’s perceived inedibility has more to do with its reputation than its actual quality.

    • missy070203 says:

      @ekthesy: I tried to eat a vegetarian diet once… for health reasons… but it didn’t work out very well for me….I tried like crazy to take in as much protien as possible from nuts and beans and fish but it wasn’t enough… like after a year I had lost like 30lbs completely lost my breasts and you could count my ribs and my skin had this greyish look to it…. I felt like a zombie…. so I started eating meat again and poof like magic breasts returned gained like 10lb back and I felt great!

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @ekthesy: There’s a big difference. I can get 100% beef hot dogs or higher-quality hot dogs. I can’t get higher-quality Spam.

      @missy070203: I also tried a vegetarian diet, but I only stuck with it for about two weeks because I realized that my options would be severely limited come grilling season. I have to have my burgers, hot dogs and steaks.

      • missy070203 says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: I love grilled asparagus and kabobs OMG have you ever grilled fruit?! its amazing…. but I do agree nothing really takes the place of a good burger… those boca burgers and veggie burger just do not grill the same…

    • pop top says:

      @ekthesy: Spam is just pork shoulder and ham, so it’s not like you’re eating some sort of mystery meat. Also, hot dogs aren’t all cow assholes and chicken beaks anymore. That practice died out years ago and that kind of stuff is much more regulated now.

      @pecan 3.14159265: “higher-quality Spam” I never thought I’d see those two phrases together.

    • OneTrickPony says:

      @ekthesy: As a non-vegetarian and someone not afflicted by the knee-jerk anti-Spam reaction, I’d tend to agree. Ingredient- and nutrition-wise, it’s pretty similar to hot dogs or bologna or any sort of sausage, really.

      • Gann says:

        @OneTrickPony:
        For what its worth, Spam beats bologna and hotdogs in protein content, but loses solidly in sodium. it has about 150% the saturated fat of bologna, but about 80% the saturated fat of hotdogs.

        This is all based on 100g of each, data from:
        [www.nutritiondata.com]

        For what it’s worth, I’d definitely try a ‘higher quality spam’ if they ever released one. It’d basically be meatloaf in a can?

    • kmw2 says:

      @ekthesy: I haven’t eaten a hot dog since I was 7 and reached the stage of self-awareness where I read the back of the package.

  8. Fuzzy_duffel_bag says:

    Spam fried rice is amazing

    Spam, egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches are also nice.

    I get a can of Spam in my stocking every year.

  9. VOIDMunashii says:

    I used to like Spam when I was younger, but then I found what I was pretty sure was a toenail in it, and that put me off it completely for over a decade.

    I’m a little better now, but the only way I eat Spam currently is in a musubi

  10. winstonthorne says:

    To add variety to my meals at least once a week I order spam, spam, spam, spam, eggs, bacon, and spam for breakfast.

  11. korybing says:

    I’ve never understood all the spam hate. Especially the “made of whatever is laying around the meat factory” thing. Spam is just pig shoulder! SPiced hAM. It is delicious, if a little on the salty side.

    Also there is a Spam Museum in Minnesota and it is as weird and kitschy as it sounds. Spam gets such a bad rap.

    • "I Like Potatoes" says:

      @korybing:
      I always thought it was extremely clever of Hormel to find a way to use the pork that was left over after canning their hams. Frugal and tasty.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @korybing: I think there’s a Spam museum in Hawaii too…but I totally get why Minnesota has one, it’s where Spam is manufactured!

      According to Wikipedia, these are the ingredients in regular Spam: chopped pork shoulder meat with ham meat added, salt, water, sugar, and sodium nitrite to help keep its color. Spam’s gelatinous glaze, or aspic, forms from the cooling of meat stock

      I don’t want to eat anything involving “gelatinous glaze” mmkay?

      • tbonekatz says:

        @pecan 3.14159265:
        Hawaii has the highest Spam consumption af anywhere in the world–an average of 4 cans per person per year. Maybe it’s good with pineapple?
        Personally, I don’t like Spam, but mostly because it tastes so salty.

      • JamieSueAustin says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: Any heated meat will form a “gelatinous glaze” when it cools. Ever put a pot roast in the fridge? A rosted chicken? If you don’t drain every last bit of juice off it will become gross like that.

      • labeled says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: Chicken stock turns to completely solid gelatin (ie, aspic) as do other stocks.

        It’s not scary.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          @labeled: I make my own stock, so yes, I know it does this. But it’s the look of the Spam coupled with the glaze…eesh.

      • nakedscience says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: “I don’t want to eat anything involving “gelatinous glaze” mmkay? “

        You don’t eat leftover meat, then?

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: but that gelatinous bit is the main ingredient in headcheese! it has centuries of history behind it. also, it’s the same centuries old piece of headcheese because no one eats that nasty stuff anymore

  12. Anonymous says:

    I was stationed in Hawaii in the late 80s, and the folks out there LOVE them some Spam. Occasionally, a grocery store will have a case lot sale, and folks will line up behind a semi truck to buy their cases straight off the trailer. I recall reading somewhere that Hormel actually uses Hawaii as a test market for new products in the Spam line, simply because the local folks like Spam, lots of them are likely to try a new Spam product and because they aren’t shy about telliing Hormel what they think.

    If you go into any okazuya in Hawaii (Japanese-style deli) on a weekday morning, you’ll see trays and trays of Spam musubi for sale. Schoolkids and construction workers will be lined up to buy them. They make a great lunch.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spam_musubi

  13. theblackdog says:

    I don’t know what it is, but the two times I tried Spam when I was younger I ended up getting sick so I’m not so willing to try it again.

  14. madanthony says:

    Spam, it’s pink and it’s oval.
    Spam, I buy it at the Mobil.
    Spam, it’s made in Chernobyl
    Spam!

  15. subtlefrog says:

    We used Spam (or Dak, the Danish equivalent, apparently) a lot when backpacking in the field in Central America (lightweight backpacking food not an option). Spam is about as portable as it gets for meat. I agree with whoever above mentioned the creep factor about the jelly around it…I could cope with them eating the Spam itself, but that jelly? Eeeeeee.

    I stuck to the peanuts & my supply of Clif bars.

  16. zandar says:

    People don’t need much fat and salt in their diet. What they need is lean protein, water, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Go to your frozen meat, produce and bulk grains departments- you’re going to find a lot of eats on the cheap there that will not only fulfill your nutrition requirements but extend your lifespan as well. I’d rather people who don’t have much money to spend on food make themselves a good vegetable soup or chicken stir fry and brown rice than load up on saturated fat and salt.

    Unless you’re a nomad, winter’s coming on and the hunting’s been bad. Then spam would be nutritionally appropriate.

  17. ArcanaJ says:

    Woof, my Dad used to love that stuff. Try as he might, he could never get me to develop a taste for it.

  18. Ed Greenberg says:

    They are welcome to advertise it any way they want, EXCEPT via unsolicited email :)

  19. joeblevins says:

    Low Sodium Spam is pretty good. The Tabasco varient is nice. Heck, haven’t had a bad one yet.

    Just cut it thin, fry it crispy and enjoy on toast.

  20. razremytuxbuddy says:

    At a community festival here this weekend, they had a Spam carving contest. I didnt get to see the results, darn it.

    I don’t mind eating Spam, and fried Spam was a treat when I was a kid.

  21. synergy says:

    I don’t mind Spam as long as it’s the low-sodium kind. Otherwise it’s way too salty for me. And, hey, I grew up poor so I’m not above the taste of some canned pork. :)

    • labeled says:

      @synergy: lol, my grandmother was extraordinarily thrifty and worked her way in on a food assistance program at one point (think government cheese) and she’d get these BIG cans of “canned pork.” Not spam, at all.. but shredded pork. Truth be told, it made awesome shredded pork BBQ sandwiches.

  22. reznicek111 says:

    Well, not exactly “artificial” – it’s processed meat, but I wouldn’t say any more so than, say, hot dogs or bologna.

  23. Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

    If you put sliced spam in a baking dish and cover it with bbq sauce, and bake it… it tastes really really good.

    That’s the only way I can eat spam… and it’s a once off every 5 years or so thing.. lol.

    • labeled says:

      @Kimaroo: About every ten years mine is spam in spam, cheese & jalapeno omelets. I don’t know why, but honestly, it’s better than ham.

  24. P_Smith says:

    “Your mother is making her specialty…Sp-(hic)-am with Cream Sauce!”

    - David Brightman’s (Matthew Broderick) father in “War Games”

    Is it any wonder that David ran away to play with Joshua?

  25. B1663R says:

    where my dad grew up they didn’t have spam the had Speck which in my opinion, having seen the canned variety he brings home from time to time, was no better than wal-mart brand dog food…

  26. savdavid says:

    I read on this site the price of SPAM had really gone up when prices rose but not come down as the their costs did. I wrote Hormel and asked them why they don’t lower the price and they actually emailed me back “We don’t know what you are talking about.” Great customer service. They don’t even bother with a form letter: just a terse one sentence plea of ignorance.

  27. redkamel says:

    Spam? ground beef, eggs, rice, beans, sausage. Thats some varierty righ there.

  28. pschroeter says:

    Spam! Spam! Spam! Spam!
    Lovely spam! Wonderful spam!

    Fry it up, drown it in pinapple chunks and a little brown sugar and cook. Eat it up, yum.

  29. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Maybe Hormel *should* market this via unsolicited e-mail.

    The irony would be just tremendous and it would be a welcome change from the usual crap get-rich-quick/lose weight/enlarge body part/auto warranty/free loans solicitations that I usually get.

    I find SPAM quite edible. I wouldn’t seek it out necessarily, but it’s a good fallback for when there’s nothing else meat-worthy in the house.

  30. Winteridge2 says:

    I used to love spam & eggs, back in the post-WWII days when real meat was scarce. Later, we used it camping, just because it was convenient. Slice it and fry with a couple eggs, and it is not bad. Probably less mysterious than some of the fast food meats we get today.

  31. evilhapposai says:

    Spam cheap? Don’t know where you are shopping but you better go read the unit price and compare it to TONS of other canned meats and even fresh meats that are cheaper. Spam is pushing $3.89+ here. Just surprises me that so many recession fearful people think they are being frugal and buy what they perceive is cheap without actually comparing or looking for other alternatives.

    For those that just gotta have salted canned meat, go buy the Kroger (Midwest grocer) brand for $.99 or the Wal-Mart one for $.94. Neither are bad and taste very similar to regular Spam. I just got the Wal-Mart one last night. Or go to your local everything is $1 store then we’ll talk cheap (and desperate).

  32. pyehac says:

    To the rest of the world:

    STOP BUYING OUR SPAM!!! WE NEED THEM FOR OUR SPAM MUSUBIS!

    - Hawaii