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SPAM (food)

Spam is a canned precooked meat product made by the Hormel Foods Corporation. The labeled ingredients in the classic variety of Spam are chopped pork shoulder meat with ham meat added, salt, water, modified potato starch as a binder, and sodium nitrite to help keep its color. Spam's gelatinous glaze, or aspic, forms from the cooling of meat stock. The product has become part of many jokes and urban legends about mystery meat, which has made it part of pop culture and folklore.

Varieties of Spam vary by region and include Spam Classic, Spam Hot & Spicy, Spam Less Sodium, Spam Lite, Spam Oven Roasted Turkey, Hickory Smoked, and Spam Spread.

Spam sold in North America, South America, and Australia is produced in Austin, Minnesota, (also known as Spam Town USA) and in Fremont, Nebraska. Spam for the UK market is produced in Denmark by Tulip under license from Hormel. Spam is also made in the Philippines and in South Korea. In 2007, the seven billionth can of Spam was sold.

Name origin
Introduced on July 5, 1937, the name "Spam" was chosen when the product, whose original name was far less memorable (Hormel Spiced Ham), began to lose market share. The name was chosen from multiple entries in a naming contest. A Hormel official once stated that the original meaning of the name "Spam" was "Shoulder of Pork and Ham". 

According to writer Marguerite Patten in Spam � The Cookbook, the name was suggested by Kenneth Daigneau, an actor and the brother of a Hormel vice president, who was given a $100 prize for creating the name. At one time, the official explanation was that the name was a portmanteau of "Spiced Ham". According to the British documentary-reality show "1940's House", when SPAM was offered by the United States to those affected by World War II in the UK, SPAM stood for Specially Processed American Meats.

Many jocular backronyms have been devised, such as "Something Posing As Meat", "Specially Processed Artificial Meat", "Stuff, Pork and Ham", "Spare Parts Animal Meat" and "Special Product of Austin Minnesota".

According to Hormel's trademark guidelines, Spam should be spelled with all capital letters and treated as an adjective, as in the phrase "SPAM luncheon meat".

Nutritional data
Spam is typically sold in cans with a net weight of 340 grams (12 ounces). A 56 gram (2 ounce) serving of original Spam provides seven grams of protein, two grams of carbohydrates, 15 grams of fat (23% US Daily Value) including 6 grams of saturated fat (28% U.S. Daily Value), and 170 calories. A serving also contains nearly a third of the recommended daily intake of sodium (salt). A 56 gram serving of Spam contains 767 mg of sodium, equivalent to approximately 2 grams of salt, indicating about 3.6% of Spam's mass is salt. Spam provides very little in terms of vitamins and minerals (0% vitamin A, 1% vitamin C , 1% calcium, 3% iron). It has been listed as a food that is a poor choice for weight loss and optimum health and as a food that "is high in saturated fat and sodium".

Varieties
There are several different flavors of Spam, including:

  • Spam Classic - original flavor
  • Spam Hot & Spicy - with tabasco flavor
  • Spam Less Sodium - "25% less sodium"
  • Spam Lite - "33% less calories and 50% less fat"
  • Spam Oven Roasted Turkey
  • Spam Hickory Smoke flavor
  • Spam Spread - "if you're a spreader, not a slicer ... just like Spam Classic, but in a spreadable form"
  • Spam with Bacon
  • Spam with Cheese
  • Spam Garlic
  • Spam Golden Honey Grail - a limited-release special flavor made in honor of Monty Python's SPAMALOT Broadway musical
  • Spam Mild

In addition to flavor, some of the tins come in smaller sizes than normal, many consumers, however, consider this to be beneficial. A more popular option is the 7 oz (200g) size can. Recently, "Spam Singles" have been produced: a single sandwich-sized slice of Spam (Classic or Lite), wrapped in plastic instead of a metal container.

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