What Does SPAM Actually Stand For?

People are surprised after finding out what SPAM really stands for.
Credit: Alamy

People are surprised after finding out what SPAM really stands for.

The tinned-based meat product was first released in 1937 by the Minnesota-based food firm Hormel Foods.

Even though it has been branded as a ‘mystery meat’ SPAM is in fact just a mixture of pork, water, salt, potato starch, sugar and sodium nitrate.

According to TIME, the intended target audience for the product was housewives who wanted cheap, quick meals that didn’t necessarily need much prep time.

However, it initially struggled to find an audience as customers were apprehensive to eat meat that didn’t need to be stored in the fridge.

Find out why more than 228,000 pounds of SPAM were recalled below…

Surprisingly, it saw a massive boom in popularity during World War II due to the difficulty of delivering fresh meat to the soldiers.

By the end of the war, over 150 million pounds of it were being purchased by the military.

During World War II, SPAM was introduced into Pacific islands such as Guam, Hawaii, Okinawa, and the Philippines.

It immediately became part of their native diets and part of ‘Filipino identity’, as stated by The Atlantic.

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Despite it being an iconic piece of food, people have never really known where the name SPAM comes from.

On social media, one person says: “On a whim, I purchased canned meat. With the first taste I understood SPAM was an acronym for Salt Preserves Any Meat.”

Someone else adds: “I just learned that SPAM is an acronym for Sizzle Pork And Mmm.”

A third user speculates: “I always was led to believe it was specially produced American meat because of WW2.”

Since it first launched in 1937, people have been trying to figure out what SPAM stands for. Credit: SPAM UK

“Some Parts Are Meat – and I’ll still eat it,” theories another person.

A fifth person comments: “I was once told it stood for special pressed American meat.”

Even though they are all plausible suggestions, they are all wrong – as it actually is a portmanteau (blended word) of spiced ham.

According to TIME, actor Ken Daigneau, the brother of a Hormel executive, came up with the name in a naming contest and got $100 as a reward.

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When Daigneua first said the word, company founder Jay Hormel immediately knew it was the one, as per Eater,

“I knew then and there that the name was perfect,” he said.

So there you have it, if you ever wondered where the name SPAM came from, it is simply just spiced ham put together.

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Written by Rosario Monachino

Rosario is a content editor at IGV who specialises in film, TV and entertainment news. He has a degree in English and Film from the University of Salford and a masters in Journalism from Liverpool John Moores University.