The little blue can of the past, present and future!

When the first SPAM® Can came off the production line in 1937, the world was forever changed. This revolutionary new product won over the hearts of soldiers, world leaders, celebrities, chefs, kids and parents. Gracie Allen, Dwight Eisenhower, Margaret Thatcher and Monty Python all have sung praises of SPAM® products. And future generations continue to enjoy it as a versatile, high-quality and great-tasting meal-time favorite. The whole world can’t get enough of the iconic taste and the effortless meal creativity contained within this little blue can.

Six Simple Ingredients

Ah, the age-old question; what is the meat in that special can of SPAM® Classic? Many myths abound, but the answer is actually quite simple.

SPAM® Brand History

SPAM® Brand Fun Facts


Does Hormel Foods take donation requests for SPAM® products?

Hormel Foods Corporation receives numerous proposals for donations to a variety of organizations and projects. To minimize the number of proposals submitted to Hormel Foods Corporation, the company restricts donations to organizations that emphasize education and hunger in and around Hormel Foods plant communities.

To request a donation, fill out the donation request form available on under the Contact Us tab. Only not-for-profit organizations that meet the company’s criteria with projects that are within an area of focus will be considered.

The donation guidelines can be found here.

How are SPAM® products made?

At first glance, one might assume SPAM® products are produced through magic. But it’s actually a relatively simple, conventional process.

  • First, the pork and ham are pre-ground.
  • Then, salt, sugar and the rest of the ingredients are added and mixed for 20 minutes, to reach the desired temperature.
  • From there, the mixture is moved over to the canning line, where it’s filled into the familiar metal cans, 12 ounces at a time.
  • Once filled, cans are conveyed to a closing machine where lids are applied through vacuum-sealing.
  • Next, the cans are cooked and cooled for about three hours. At this point they’re nearly ready for enjoyment.
  • But the cans can’t leave naked. Labels are applied and then they’re off to be cased, where they await distribution.

What do SPAM® products taste like?

In a word: magic. Of course, we’re biased, and if you haven’t had the good fortune of tasting magic before, that won’t tell you much. Speaking objectively, they taste kinda like ham. They also taste a little like pork roast. What we’re trying to say is, SPAM® products have a unique taste that’s unlike anything else out there. That taste also depends on the SPAM® variety and how you prepare it. Grilling, baking, or frying will result in different textures and subtleties. So the best way to answer this question is ultimately to try it for yourself.

What does the SPAM® brand name mean?

There are some questions that continually plague man over time. Questions like 'Is there intelligent life beyond Earth?' And 'What is the meaning of the SPAM® brand name?' Unfortunately, we can provide answers to neither. The significance of the SPAM® brand name has long been a subject of speculation. One popular belief says it’s derived from the words 'spiced ham.' The real answer is known by only a small circle of former Hormel Foods executives. And probably Nostradamus.

What is the Great American SPAM® Championship Contest?

The Great American SPAM® Championship is an annual recipe contest held at 26 of the country’s largest state and county fairs. This fun competition is for those fans who enjoy cooking for friends and family (home cooks, not professional chefs). Entrants compete for prizes (up to $150 for 1st place), blue ribbons and a shot at the coveted grand prize, a trip to the Waikiki SPAM JAM® Festival. How does it work?

You enter through the fair. Follow their official competition rules. Prepare your dish at home and deliver it to the fair for on-site judging. Use at least one can of any SPAM® variety and up to 10 additional ingredients. The 2018 theme is "Hawaiian & Island-Inspired Recipes".

At each fair, judges will choose winning entries based on taste, creativity, and how easy the recipe is to make. For competition details and complete entry guidelines, contact a host fair’s entry office.

What is the best way to eat SPAM® products?

Simple, the best way to eat it is with your mouth. Sandwiches are the most popular vehicle used to deliver it to your chompers. Which kind of sandwich is another question entirely though, as there are a plethora of recipes available. Beyond the sandwich, the versatility of this delicious meat provides endless meal options, including many that are uniquely preferred within particular cultures around the globe. By the time you asked every SPAM® Brand lover out there, the responses would likely include grilled, fried, in a taco, on a bun, as a snack, for supper, and even straight out of the can. There are countless ways to enjoy SPAM® products, and no wrong way. 

What is the shelf life of SPAM® products?

While the keeper of an emergency underground bunker might have you believe SPAM® products offer eternal freshness, there is, in fact, a limit to their goodness. On the bottom of every can of SPAM® product you’ll find a "best by" date. This is the date Hormel Foods recommends using the product by. You’ll likely find yourself gobbling up the delicious meat inside the can long before that date. But if you find yourself sitting on a stock of SPAM® products during a zombie invasion, be sure to check the date before you enjoy.

What is this Year's Great American SPAM® Championship Contest Recipe Challenge?

It calls for Hawaiian & Island-Inspired Recipes. Use up to 10 ingredients, plus 12-ounces or more of any SPAM® Variety. 

What makes SPAM® Brand so popular around the world?

In Southeast Asia, a SPAM® brand gift pack would be considered an appropriate wedding gift. SPAM® products are regarded as luxury goods, with gift packs selling for as much as $45 U.S. So if you travel there for business, leave the cigars at home and pick up this delicacy for an introductory exchange.

The Philippines’ SPAM® brand craze is so strong that it inspired a restaurant based entirely around the brand. The SPAM JAM® restaurant in the Philippines is a magical place where you can order SPAMBURGER™ hamburgers, SPAM® Spaghetti, SPAM® and Egg, and a multitude of other SPAM® dishes.

In Hawaii, SPAM® products are practically the national food. It’s served everywhere from grocery store delis to fancy restaurants. Even McDonald’s features several SPAM® items on their breakfast menu. This fanaticism fuels sales of 7 million cans of SPAM® products per year in the Aloha State.

Guam may be a tiny island, but its appetite for SPAM® products is humongous. How humongous, you say? The average annual SPAM® product consumption comes out to 16 cans per person. Guam has also been the site of SPAM® Games, where locals sample and honor the best original SPAM® recipes. 

Even those blokes in the UK love SPAM® products. Of course, it’s prepared in proper British style in a dish called SPAM® fritters. Similar to English fish ‘n chips, SPAM® products are dipped in batter and deep-fried. Once it’s good and crispy, it’s ready to serve -- with a sidecar of vinegar, of course.

Where is the 2018 Great American SPAM® Championship Contest Being Held?

The 2018 recipe competition will be hosted at 26 of the country’s top state and county fairs:

*Following dates reflect Opening Fair Day

Arkansas State Fair
, Little Rock, AR | 10/11             

California State Fair, Sacramento, CA | 7/14

San Diego County Fair, San Diego (Del Mar), CA | 6/1   

Orange County Fair, Los Angeles (Costas Mesa), CA | 7/13

Georgia National Fair, Perry (Near Macon), GA | 10/4

Illinois State Fair, Springfield, IL | 8/10

Indiana State Fair, Indianapolis, IN | 8/3

Iowa State Fair, Des Moines, IA | 8/9                              

Kansas State Fair, Wichita (Hutchinson), KS | 9/7            

Kentucky State Fair, Louisville, KY | 8/16

Minnesota State Fair, St. Paul (Minneapolis), MN | 8/23

New Mexico State Fair, Albuquerque, NM | 9/6

New York State Fair, Syracuse, NY | 8/22

North Carolina State Fair, Raleigh, NC | 10/11                

Cuyahoga County Fair, Cleveland (Berea), OH | 8/6        

Oklahoma State Fair, Oklahoma City, OK | 9/13              

Tulsa State Fair, Tulsa, OK | 9/27

Washington County Fair, Washington (Pittsburgh), PA | 8/11

Great Allentown Fair, Allentown, PA | 8/28

Delta Fair & Music Festival, Memphis, TN | 8/30              

Amarillo Tri-State Fair, Amarillo, TX | 9/14

State Fair of Texas, Dallas (Ft. Worth), TX | 9/28         

Virginia State Fair, Richmond, VA | 9/28               

Salem Fair (New 2018), Salem (Roanoke), VA | 7/3

Washington State Fair, Puyallup (Seattle), WA | 8/30      

Wisconsin State Fair, Milwaukee, WI | 8/2

For all 2018 Great American SPAM® Championship Contest inquiries please call (612) 922-3247 or email 

Who is the Sir-Can-A-Lot™ character?

Introduced in 2012 SPAM® brand advertising, the SIR CAN-A-LOT® character is the official spokescharacter for the SPAM® brand in America. The diminutive knight is a messenger for the SPAM® brand, on a self-proclaimed “crusade to rescue the world from routine meals.” He approaches this mission with equal parts motivation and mischief, taking sleep-cookers by surprise to suggest they make their meals more interesting by adding SPAM® products.

 What the SIR CAN-A-LOT™ character lacks in size, he makes up for in bravado. Whether fumbling or composed, he is courageous and determined in his pursuits. Through it all, it is clear he reveres SPAM® products — or, as he puts it, “Glorious SPAM®!”

Why are SPAM® products so popular in Hawaii?

We know what you’re thinking; SPAM® products must grow on trees there. That would be neat, but to believe it you must have taken a coconut to the head. The true root of the island’s love for SPAM® products goes back to World War II, when the luncheon meat was served to GIs. By the end of the war, SPAM® products were adopted into local culture, with Fried SPAM® Classic and rice becoming a popular meal. The unique flavor quickly found its way into other Hawaiian cuisine, from SPAM® Fried Wontons to SPAM® Musubi, and SPAM® products became a fixture for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Today you’ll find SPAM® dishes served everywhere from convenience stores to restaurants, reflecting a demand that is unmatched by any place in the world.

Why is SPAM® Brand a Household Name?

This delicious American icon and global brand launched in 1937 as “The Meat of Many Uses!” and American households quickly ate it up. By 1940, 70 percent of urban Americans were eating SPAM® products. But it was the arrival of WWII, and the need for easily transported protein, that fueled the SPAM® brand’s incredible growth around the world. Today, with over a dozen varieties sold in more than 40 countries, this 79 year old brand continues to ignite invention all over the world.      


In America, people come from far and wide to visit the SPAM® Museum. Located in Austin, MN (the birthplace of SPAM® brand), this museum is a curation of all things SPAM® brand, and pays tribute to it’s presence across the world.  

In 1998, SPAM® product packaging was donated to the Smithsonian. How many meat products can boast such a distinction?

 All of this passion and demand has amounted to this: in 2012, the eighth-billionth can of SPAM® product was produced. Chew on that for awhile.