Cut Food Costs: Consumers Switch To Spam

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2008-06-0717

How far will you go to cut food costs?

With food prices rising, we’re seeing some changes in people’s behavior lately. Jeremy writes about it in his amusing article on Spam. We’re told that as they feel the pinch of higher food costs, consumers are supposedly now flocking to more affordable food alternatives such as lunch meats and who knows what else in order to get a handle on their food budget.

And the argument Jeremy makes is that he’s not sure whether this makes sense at all, because there are apparently cheaper, healthier and arguably tastier food substitutes out there than processed pork material (ugh!) like Spam. True enough. With food getting more expensive, this is a good opportunity for all of us to reevaluate our diets and see how we can make improvements to our grocery bill allocation and to our waistline.

As far as the reputation of Spam though, I find it interesting how “maligned” it happens to be in this part of the world. I grew up eating Spam in all its various forms… and I can say that I liked it as a kid, although I haven’t eaten it in decades. Where I’m originally from, Spam is a desirable food that is even considered a breakfast staple.

save money on food, spam jam, spam event
Photo by Kanaka

Despite its reputation, this food item has its fans worldwide. It’s fairly popular in parts of Asia and even in Hawaii, and of course, in the place where it was born — Austin, Minnesota. In Waikiki, they even have some annual festival honoring and celebrating the mmmm…. mmmm… goodness of this food. ;)

save money on food, try a spam burger
Spam Burger, Photo by The Tasty Island

save money on food, try a spam pizza
Spam Pizza, Photo by The Tasty Island

save money on food, try spam musubi
Spam Musubi, Photo by Kanaka

Heck, even some people have faith enough to build an entire restaurant business and franchise around this food product. Check out this restaurant in the Philippines devoted to it:

save money on food, spamjam restaurant
SpamJam Restaurant, Photo by Santos

A life-long Spam eater, Philip Abadilla says he came up with the idea of a Spam restaurant on his own, only to find that Hormel (the company behind Spam) had been considering the same project.

The menu is definitely one of a kind: there is a Spam hero sandwich, Spam club sandwich, Spam spaghetti, Spam macaroni, Spam potato chowder, bean soup with Spam, Spam Ceasar salad, Spam poppers and Spam meals with rice for the Filipino palate.

Abadilla hopes to introduce even more Spam-oriented dishes but he notes that their biggest seller so far is the “Spamburger,” a simple hamburger sandwich using a patty of Spam instead of ground meat.

So yeah, there are more Spam fans than you may think. Would you be adventurous enough to try out a recipe? Or just curious enough to learn about its back story? Then again, we are what we eat. ;)

Copyright © 2008 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Barbara June 7, 2008 at 8:02 pm

The closest I’ll get to Spam is by watching my favorite performer Clay Aiken on that Monty Python broadway show, Spamalot!

Mary in CO June 7, 2008 at 8:25 pm

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam … wonderful SPAM!

When I was a kid in HI, the local McDonald’s served up saimin noodles (like ramen only better) with sliced green onion and Spam slivers. It was really good! Kids at our local school would bring rice and fried Spam for breakfast. Ono-licious!

Yeah, I’d eat Spam in small portions. A little goes a long way, as it’s high in salt and fat.

For cheap protein, I like beans.

The Digerati Spouse June 7, 2008 at 8:35 pm

Spam makes me ill. When I went to the Philippines, I ate too much spam, then I got sick. So no more spam for me.

Silicon Valley Blogger June 7, 2008 at 8:38 pm

@The Digerati Spouse,
I think your experience was completely Pavlovian. You should’ve stuck with the bottled water. ;)

@Barbara,
Oooh! I love Clay Aiken, despite what crazy things he gets himself into.

aa June 7, 2008 at 9:18 pm

Spam may be tasty but it’s not cheap. Consider the unit price of the meat ($/lb)…

Silicon Valley Blogger June 8, 2008 at 7:14 am

@aa,
Yes, Jeremy from Gen X Finance makes that point in his article, that Spam isn’t really as cheap as people think. But Spam sales are on the rise for some reason, and reports say it’s due to higher food prices?! Oddly interesting!

I view Spam like I do hot dogs, sausages and other processed meats… Stuff I’d consume in controlled quantities, especially now that I’m keeping a closer look at my health and am staying away from mystery food items of an unknown nature….; But I thought I’d give a shout out to Spam fans out there… ;)

Fabulously Broke June 9, 2008 at 3:24 am

The spam burger and spam sushi look disturbingly good…

komodo dragon June 11, 2008 at 2:53 pm

ughh spam .. why i ask … why …

David Carter June 16, 2008 at 7:12 pm

Ramen is cool, it actually tastes good, spam on the other hand is just nasty. There are other ways to get the protein like beans (and they aren’t so disgusting).

Value For Your Life June 17, 2008 at 10:53 am

Well, I’ve never tasted Spam, and don’t intend to, but I do get a kick out of seeing the Spam recipes the funny people at Google put links to above the “delete forever” button when viewing your gmail spam folder. Just thought I’d mention it in case any Spam-lovers out there are looking for recipes!
Amanda

funkmofunkmo August 3, 2009 at 8:08 pm

As a child, when I lived in N.C. with my Dad and Stepmom, we ate on every Tuesday: Spam, Pinto beans and applesauce. I loved this meal and still do. I think the secret to eating Spam is to fry in oil until crispy around the edges. I can understand If you don’t care for spam. Raw onions for the Beans and cinnamon for the apple sauce. I think you can Feed 4 for under $10.00. Thx………………..momo

Dan Hicks December 31, 2009 at 7:10 am

Spam is a great survival food, lasting almost indefinitely in the can. I personally bought 4 cases at the local wholesale club. If all the money we’ve printed turns into hyperinflation food prices will soar. Its smart to have a store of foods that will keep just in case.

Besides I think Spam tastes pretty good. When I was in Hawaii they treated it like a gourmet commodity. It was amazing all the different ways they prepared it. I really liked it prepared like a breakfast meat chopped up with bell peppers, and skillet potatoes in scrambled eggs.

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