SPAM-tastic meat celebrated this week

Who knew canned luncheon meat is honored with its own week? The Canned Food Information Council sponsors the first week of July as National Canned Luncheon Meat Week. The dedication to meat week, which ends Tuesday, recognizes canned meats, including canned ham, pork, chicken, turkey, beef, corned beef and Vienna sausages.

The most well-known canned meat, made up of pork and ham, SPAM, was manufactured in 1937. The official SPAM Web site states that the product was originally called Hormel Spiced Ham. But by taking the “Sp” out of spiced and the “am” from ham, it formed the word SPAM.

Hormel also takes credit for one of the characteristics familiar to canned meat packaging. Its Web site states they suggested putting meat in rectangular cans instead of circular ones to make it easier for shipping in the early 1940s.

According to, corned beef got its name from corning, which is a form of curing. Before the refrigerator was invented, meat was dry-cured in salt corns, which are pellets of salt. The salt was rubbed into the beef to keep it fresh, according to

Now, salt water is used, allowing the meat to keep its name, corned beef.

As an affordable meal some consider canned luncheon meat for college students on a budget.

Along with canned meat being inexpensive, it doesn’t need to be cooked. SPAM can be eaten on bread as a sandwich and corned beef can be found in a can mixed with potatoes as corned beef hash. Vienna sausages can even be eaten out of the can.

For those with extra time, there are many recipes to make the canned meat eating experience more enjoyable.