Spam, the cheap to eat canned meat, is a testament to the wonders of marketing. Think about: Spam is ground up pork parts that are squashed into cubes and shoved into cans. Yet through savvy marketing, Hormel Foods Corp. has sold nearly 8 billion cans of the stuff over the last 7 decades.

Jay Hormel, president of Hormel Foods, introduced Spam on July 5, 1937. Hormel is credited with creating Spam, but Kenneth Daigneau is considered the official “namer” of Spam. Hormel held a contest to come up with a name for the company’s new “spiced ham” product. Daigneau won $100 for his entry.

Hormel early on said the name Spam was a combination of “spiced” and “ham,” though today the company Web site claims that “the term ‘spiced ham’ simply doesn’t paint the right picture of what a can of Spam Classic really is. So in the end Spam is Spam. For real.”

Ah, the wonders of marketing.

Did you know?

  • 100 million cans of Spam are sold annually in the U.S.
  • Factories in Austin, Minn., and Fremont, Neb., produce all of the Spam for North America, South American and Australia.
  • In 2007, Hormel sold it’s 7 billionth can of Spam.
  • Hawaii has the highest per capita consumption of Spam of any state in the U.S. About 7 million cans of Spam are sold each year in the Aloha State. That’s about 5 cans per Hawaiian. Spam consumption by the rest of the U.S. population is than 1/3 of a can per year.