People Stunned After Finding Out What SPAM Actually Stands For

By maks in Interesting On 30th March 2024

Nope, not talking about that annoying junk email filter, but the legendary 'mystery meat in a can' that's been hiding in the back of kitchen cupboards for nearly a hundred years.

This iconic pink block of pork and fat made its debut in 1937, thanks to the Minnesota-based Hormel Foods.

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The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America tells us that SPAM came into being as a clever solution to sell off pork shoulder, which wasn't exactly flying off the shelves back then.

Even though it's often called 'mystery meat', SPAM's actually pretty straightforward—it's made from pork, water, salt, potato starch, sugar, and sodium nitrate.

But here's a head-scratcher that's been puzzling folks for ages: What does SPAM actually stand for?

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The internet's been buzzing with all sorts of wild guesses.

One person threw out there, "On a whim I purchased canned meat. With the first taste I understood SPAM was an acronym for Salt Preserves Any Meat."

Credit: Getty Images

Another chimed in with, "I often conjectured that 'Spam' was an acronym for 'Spoiled Ham'."


And then there was, "I just learned that SPAM is an acronym for Sizzle Pork And Mmm."

You might have also come across guesses like "stuff posing as meat", "shoulder of pork and ham", and "scientifically processed animal matter" during your deep dives into SPAM lore.

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But, drumroll please, the mystery's been cracked wide open.

TIME let us in on the fact that SPAM is actually a blend of the words 'spiced ham'. 

It was Ken Daigneau, the brother of a Hormel executive, who dreamed it up during a naming contest.

Eater shared that when Daigneau first tossed out the name, Jay Hormel, the company's founder, was instantly sold. 

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

Credit: Getty Images

SPAM's fame took off during WWII and now, it's a pantry staple in 44 countries around the globe.