There Are More Flavors Of SPAM Than You Might Expect

However you personally feel about the canned meat product that is SPAM, there is little doubt that it has become woven into the blanket of classic Americana. A symbol of great innovation in times of need, SPAM has been a constant fixture on grocery store shelves since it debuted almost 90 years ago. It was created during the Great Depression when meat was scarce and expensive and was marketed to housewives as an affordable substitute. Not everyone jumped on the SPAM train immediately, however. Many of these women weren't keen on meat that sat on a shelf rather than in the refrigerator, so sales didn't immediately take off. By the time World War II came along, however, the military found it to be an ideal product for shipping to troops all over the world.

As a result, SPAM found a global fanbase of their classic original flavor. But, thanks in part to that fanbase, the company has expanded their flavors over the years; Some have been directly targeted to other countries and demographics while others were created to please all palates. The original SPAM remained the brand's sole flavor until 1971 when the Hormel company released its first two alternate flavors. Today, those options have grown to more than you can count on both hands.

The 15 flavors of SPAM

Those who haven't tried SPAM might be surprised to learn that the company offers anything other than one flavor, but the original version of this tinned pork product is just one of the 15 total current offerings. The first other flavors released were Hickory Smoke and SPAM with Cheese, which are still available today. The twelve that followed were Hot & Spicy, Jalapeño, Garlic, SPAM with Bacon, Oven Roasted Turkey, SPAM Lite, Teriyaki, Chorizo, SPAM with 25% Less Sodium, Black Pepper, Portuguese Sausage, and SPAM with Tocino, which is a Filipino-style bacon.

Historically SPAM has sold well in the Hawaiian and Filipino markets, and the brand thanked them by adding in flavors associated with their cuisine — teriyaki and tocino, respectively. Occasionally, Hormel releases limited edition flavors; these have included figgy pudding and pumpkin spice. The fact that these sell out before most people know they're available is a big indication of the shelf-stable meat's popularity. 

After nearly a century, Hormel continues to keep SPAM fresh with new flavors. According to Hormel brand manager, Brian Lillis, "We keep a strong pulse on the culinary and foodie scenes as well as listen to our customers to ensure each new variety created is versatile, easy to use, and above all, great-tasting."

Does this mean the company's headed for its sixteenth flavor? Only time will tell, but with SPAM's record, we think the chances are good.