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Spam Spam Spam

Published: 18th September 2007 22:33

        In 1937 an American called Ken Daigneau won $100 for his suggestion at a New Years Eve party in 1936 to rename a Hormel Foods product and the legend of Spam was born. Spam Luncheon Meat was created by Jay C Hormel, son of George A. Hormel who founded Hormel Foods, a well known food production company in America. Spam was developed and marketed in the United States but sales werevery  slow until in mid-1937 when the product is advertised as "the miracle meat".

        On March 11, 1941, the American Lend Lease act was signed and one of these benefits was that it brought Spam Chopped Pork and Ham here to Britain for the first time as part of the U.S. Government's Lend Lease aid scheme. In America, what is believed to be the first-ever musical advertisement was written and aired to the tune of "My Bonny lies over the Ocean". Try singing it:-

"Spam, Spam, Spam,Spam, Hormel's new miracle meat in a can; Taste fine, saves time; If you want something grand; ask for Spam."

        During the last war, Spam became a staple of the American diet because, unlike beef, it is not rationed. The Newforge factory here in England first made Spam under licence in the UK in the late 1950s, just in time for us!

        The one-billionth can of Spam was produced in America in 1959. There is now enough Spam to go around the world twice. The 34th American president Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote to Hormel Foods after World War II about Spam saying, "I...officially forgive you your only sin: sending us so much of it."

        After the war in the USA, Spam adapted itself to suit smaller families needs, by introducing 7 ounce tins in addition to the original 12 ounce tin and here in the UK, schools put Spam at the top of their menu, and didn't we know it, cold Spam, warm Spam and even Spam fritters!!!.

        In the 1970's the Monty Python Spam sketch became one of their most famous television moments. But whether it influenced the sales of Spam is highly debatable.

        In the early 1980's even the Russian president Boris Yeltsin was presented with a can of Spam by then president of Hormel Foods, R.L. Knowlton. Now believe it of not in 1991, the official Spam museum was opened in Austin, Minnesota. The museum quickly attracted over 60,000 people annually many coming from all over the world.

        In the 1990's Hormel Foods noticed the shifts in consumer eating patterns and Spam Lite was is produced as a reduced salt and fat alternative and in 1997, In 1998 Hormel Foods awarded Tulip UK with the licence for supplying Spam to the UK market providing that they followed the exact same recipe that was created by Jay C. Hormel and Tulip started production at its manufacturing site in Denmark. The distinctive rectangular shaped can that Spam was first marketed in remains unchanged and is as much a part of its trademark as its name.

        Sales dropped and in 1997 Spam had a revamp with a new can design picturing a Spamburger hamburger. Believe it or not the official Spam Fan Clubs have been launched in the UK and U.S. and they claim they are receiving 75 new members a day. To date, Spam is a registered trademark in more than 100 countries and the product is sold in 45 of them. The Spam Cookbook was written by celebrity cook and author Marguerite Patten in 2000 and Spam Hot and Spicy was launched as a limited edition in October 2001.

        Worldwide the residents of Guam eat the most Spam, eating an average of 16 cans per person per year. There's such demand for Spam on the island that McDonalds features Spam on the menu. And to think when we were kids we detested the stuff!

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