As Food Costs Rise, People Are Buying More Ramen and…Spam?

The Associated Press is saying that rising food costs are driving people to buy more Spam, despite the fact that the Spam itself is more expensive. Are you really doing this?

The price of Spam is up too, with the average 12 oz. can costing about $2.62. That’s an increase of 17 cents, or nearly 7 percent, from the same time last year. But it’s not stopping sales, as the pork meat in a can seems like a good alternative to consumers.

Kimberly Quan, a stay-at-home mom of three who lives just outside San Francisco, has been feeding her family more Spam in the last six months as she tries to make her food budget go further.

She cooks meals like Spam fried rice and Spam sandwiches two or three times a month, up from once a month previously.

Pulling Spam from the shelf prevents last-minute grocery store trips and overspending, said Quan, 38, of Pleasanton, Calif.

“It’s canned meat and it’s in the cupboard and if everything else is gone from the fridge, it’s there,” she said.

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.

The Austin, Minn.-based company, also known for the Jennie-O Turkey Store, has embarked on its first national advertising campaign for the 71-year-old brand in several years. They’ve credited the sales increase to that, along with new products like individually packaged “Spam Singles” slices. Also helping sales, executives said in an earnings conference call, was the fact that people looking to save money are skipping restaurant meals and eating more at home.

Spam Singles? According to the article Spam costs about $3.49 per lbs. Is this a good deal? Our local grocery store in Brooklyn has boneless chicken breasts on sale for $2.49 per lbs.

Another woman in the article says she’s feeding her kids ramen more often:

April Smith has been changing the way she feeds her family in Broken Arrow, Okla., to keep up with rising costs. This summer the 33-year-old administrative assistant will feed her two boys, ages 11 and 8, more ramen for lunch. Normally they eat the noodle soup on Saturdays, but since ramen costs about a dime per pack, they’ll get it twice a week. Smith says she’ll throw in some leftover frozen vegetables to make it more nutritious.

“Since it’s cheap and easy, I figure why not let them eat it twice a week instead of once a week,” Smith said.

What are you doing to save money at the grocery store? Is canned meat involved?

Sales of Spam rise as consumers trim food costs [AP]
(Photo: jodsey )