Spam sales hit record high for seventh year in a row

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Cans of Spam on a grocery shelf. The brand's owner Hormel capped off its seventh straight record-selling year.Image source, Getty Images

Sales of the canned cooked meat Spam have hit a record high for the seventh year in a row, despite pandemic-related challenges.

That helped Hormel, the company that makes the iconic brand, deliver record sales of $3.5bn (£2.65bn) in the three months to the end of October.

The firm's boss said it will start work on expanding its range of Spam products next year.

Hormel's shares rose by almost 6% in New York on Thursday.

"The Spam brand delivered its seventh consecutive year of record growth," Hormel's chief executive Jim Snee said on a conference call with investors.

"We are also beginning work on another expansion for the Spam family of products scheduled to be operational in 2023," he added.

Hormel, which completed its takeover of the Planters peanut brand in June, saw sales rise by 19% to $11.4bn for the year as a whole.

That came even as the company was faced with supply chain issues during the coronavirus pandemic.

To help limit the impact of supply issues in the future Hormel said it has signed a new five-year contract for supplies of pork, the main ingredient in Spam.

Asia popularity

Outside the US, Spam has a large international market, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.

It has been a household name in Hawaii since it was introduced in 1937.

It can be found on menus across the islands, as Spam musubi - a sushi-like dish - Spam fried rice, and the popular breakfast - Spam, eggs, and rice.

In South Korea, it was introduced by the US army during the Korean War, when food was scarce.

Today, Spam is so much a part of South Korean culture, that it is the staple ingredient in one of the country's favourite dishes: budae jjigae, or army stew.

Tins of Spam are even given as presents for the Lunar New Year, sometimes presented in gift-boxes as part of special promotion for the holiday.

Hormel is based in the US state of Minnesota and operates in more than 80 countries worldwide.

As well as Spam and Planters, its brands include Natural Choice and Applegate meat products and Skippy peanut butter.

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