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 coming up with the name. At one time, the official explanation may have been that the name was a syllabic abbreviation of “Spiced Ham”. Many jocular acronyms have been devised, such as “Something Posing As Meat”, “Stuff, Pork and Ham” and “Spare Parts Animal Meat.”
Spam was imported into the United Kingdom during the war and remained a mainstay of the British diet for some time. I can remember my mother serving “Spam Fritters” for dinner. for sometime I was led to believe that the name stood for Specially Processed American Meat, but perhaps not! 😕
A Spam advertisement on back cover of Time magazine on May 14, 1945. As of 2003, Spam is sold in 41 countries worldwide. The largest consumers of Spam are the United States, the United Kingdom and South Korea.