Spam sales soar as recession rages

Spam, the wonderful meat in a can that is inexpensive yet tasty, is seeing its sales increase, according to a recent story in The New York Times. Blame the economy, where diners are looking for cheap ways to put meat on the kitchen table. Or on the restaurant table.

Other thrifty foods that are selling well across the country, many of which will fill you up, according to the Times story, include rice, beans, macaroni and cheese, pancake mixes, instant potatoes, Jell-O, Kool-Aid, fruit and vegetable preservatives, and beer.

At the Hormel Foods Corp. plant in Austin, Minn., two shifts of workers have been making Spam seven days a week since July, and they've been told the busy work schedule will continue indefinitely.

The story reports that at Jerry's Other Place, a restaurant in Austin, Minn., a Spamburger goes for $6.29. Come on! A Spamburger for $6.29? The price seems to defeat the reason for ordering such a burger -- to save money. A hamburger can't be that much more. A 12-ounce can of Spam costs $2.40.

Spam is a combination of ham, pork, salt, flavoring and preservatives in a vacuum-pressured can that doesn't require refrigeration and can last for years. It's incredibly popular in Hawaii, where about 4 million cans of it are eaten each year. A salute to the popular mystery meet is held each year in the Aloha State. The seventh annual Waikiki Spam Jam is April 25, 2009.

But back to the cost of a Spamburger: $6.29. Amazing that it would cost that much. Steve's Pizza, also in Austin, Minn., reportedly sells a medium Spam and pineapple pizza for $11.58. That may not be high for a pizza, but how much more can it cost for Canadian bacon or ham instead of Spam? Time to get creative and make your own pizza at home.

Aaron Crowe is a journalist looking for writing and editing work in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read his blog about his job search at

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