Spam, the much celebrated, much derided, much ironically celebrated informal state food of Hawaii, is back with a recession-charged vengeance. Skyrocketing sales of the stuff are taking place despite the cynicism of observers such as this blog’s own Nicholas Day, who, this June, didn’t buy reports of a nascent boom.
Mr. Day, the New York Times has overturned your no-Spam boom thesis (subscription required). Apparently, the Spam factory in Austin, MN, can hardly crank the stuff out fast enough to meat, er, meet demand. A recent one-day production was 149,950 cans, if that helps to put things in perspective.
Most fascinating, perhaps, is the shroud of secrecy that surrounds the pink, blocky foodstuff: “No independent data provider compiles sales figures that include all the outlets where Spam is sold, including foreign stores, so it is not clear exactly how much sales are up. Hormel’s chief executive, Jeffrey M. Ettinger, said in September that they were growing by double digits.” Also, “The company would not discuss more recent sales of the product or permit a tour of the Spam factory, citing rules that Hormel said prevented it from speaking ahead of a forthcoming earnings report.”
That said, an unalloyed celebration of Spam, the article is not. Oh New York Times, can’t you earnestly embrace something both blue-collar and offbeat, just once? Instead, the Times writes: “Through war and recession, Americans have turned to the glistening canned product from Hormel as a way to save money while still putting something that resembles meat on the table.”
“Resembles meat.” Sheesh. Since when is Spam a valid target for mockery?