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 creating the name. At one time, the official explanation was that the name was a portmanteau of “Spiced Ham”. According to the British documentary-reality show “1940’s House”, when SPAM was offered by the United States to those affected by World War II in the UK, SPAM stood for Specially Processed American Meats.
Many jocular backronyms have been devised, such as “Something Posing As Meat”, “Specially Processed Artificial Meat”, “Stuff, Pork and Ham”, “Spare Parts Animal Meat” and “Special Product of Austin Minnesota”.
According to Hormel’s trademark guidelines, Spam should be spelled with all capital letters and treated as an adjective, as in the phrase “SPAM luncheon meat”.
P.S. the new SPAM lite is really good. If you like less salt. Try it. Next post will be some neat SPAM recipes.