Article by Joanna Sarah-Freedman
It has lined the supermarket shelves for decades, but what does SPAM stand for?
We bet you’ve never even thought about SPAM’s meaning before now, and we wouldn’t blame ya.
But people are just discovering that the little cans of meat actually has a backstory behind its name…
SPAM was first launched as a way to provide meat on the cheap during the Great Depression, as is explained on the Hormel Foods website.
First sold in 1937 by food company Hormel Foods, who are based in Minnesota, the rectangular patty is often the butt of the joke, dubbed a ‘mystery meat’ by chefs and shoppers alike.
But the real mystery isn’t actually what’s in the can (pork, water, salt, potato starch, sugar, and sodium nitrate), it’s what SPAM stands for.
“On a whim, I purchased canned meat,” joked one person online. “With the first taste, I understood SPAM was an acronym for Salt Preserves Any Meat.”
Whilst another wrote: “Back in the day people would tell you SPAM was an acronym for Squirrel, Possum, and Mice and you would just have to believe it until the internet was invented.”
“I just learned that SPAM is an acronym for Sizzle Pork And Mmm,” joked a third.
It goes without saying, neither of these are correct.
According to reports from TIME, SPAM is in fact a portmanteau of ‘spiced ham’, dreamed up by actor Ken Daigneau, who is brother of an exec at Hormel.
Daigneau is said to have thought of the name during a competition, and apparently as soon as he said ‘SPAM’, Hormel knew it was the right choice.
“I knew then and there that the name was perfect,” Eater reports he said.
What started off as a World War Two food with an incredibly durable shelf life is today a food sold in 44 countries.
We wonder how many people buying it have any idea what its name means…
Featured image: Getty