Happy birthday, SPAM! Do your fans know what your four letters stand for?

Image by Hormel, The Hawaii Plan

The tinned meat product SPAM, which first hit shelves in 1937, marked its 80th birthday on Wedenesday, July 5.

Yes, it has been in the market for 80 years, but have you ever wondered what ‘SPAM’ means? Some didn’t even know that it’s an acronym, some haven’t even tasted it yet, and some don’t even know it exists.

But for those meat lovers, especially SPAM lovers, let’s not prolong the suspense.

SPAM means ‘Sizzle. Pork. And. Mmm.’ Yes. These days Spam tells us, via its relatively low key Twitter bio and its retro funky website, that the four letters mean ‘Sizzle. Pork. And. Mmm’.

Image by SPAM

Spam manufacturer Hormel once said the acronym simply meant ‘Spiced Ham’.

But there’s also lots of claims with believable reasons what the four letters of the product meant.

Delivering fresh meat to the front during World War Two was difficult so SPAM rapidly become part of the US soldier’s diet. Because of that, some hypothesized it meant ‘Specially Processed Army Meat’.

There’s still an urban myth mincing about that suggests the four letters stand for ‘Scientifically Processed Animal Matter‘. Others have mused that it means ‘Shoulder of Pork and Ham’.

SPAM was introduced by Hormel in 1937. Ken Daigneau, brother of a company executive, won a $100 prize that year in a competition to name the new item. Hormel claims that the meaning of the name “is known by only a small circle of former Hormel Foods executives”, but popular beliefs are that the name is an abbreviation of the aforementioned “spiced ham”, “spare meat”, or “shoulders of pork and ham”. Another popular explanation is that Spam is an acronym standing for “Specially Processed American Meat.”

Whatever it really stands for, it tastes good enough to be enjoyable for most, and it became an important part of history.

Happy birthday, SPAM!