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What's with the SPAM monopoly?

Why isn't there a competing product for SPAM? Is it Treet? Something else?

Seems like something so popular would have a competing product, or substitute.

I mean, I can find about 3 or 4 different types of canned tuna, salmon, and chicken. At least 2 major brands of beef stew. And endless varieties of luncheon meats.

But SPAM? Seems like Hormel has cornered the market, or am I missing something?

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  1. I'm guessing SPAM is made from a recipe that Hormel owns and isn't sharing. No proprietary recipe for the other canned goods you mentioned--they're actual foods found in nature.

    1. I've seen plenty of Spam-like products on the shelves. Granted, not in typical supermarkets, but definitely in Asian markets. It's a canned meat mixture of pork, etc. I can't think of any brand names off the top of my head, but they exist. Having said that, I've tried a couple and, while not bad, if you're used to the taste of Spam, other brands will certainly taste different.

      5 Replies
      1. re: leanneabe

        "It's a canned meat mixture of pork, etc"

        Ingredents of original Spam are " Pork and Ham"

        ...hence my fascination with Spam "with real Hormel bacon"...

        1. re: Cathy

          Spam does not contain meat as you know it....mostly "organ" meats and "trim"....nasty stuff....

          1. re: Pollo

            Actually no.

            "On to your questions. The common assumption is that Spam is made of stuff even pigs don't like to admit they've got. Not so, says the nice lady at Hormel Foods, which manufactures Spam. It contains a mixture of ham and chopped pork shoulder. (Ham is the pig's thigh; pork is everything else.) Ham is Hormel's top-of-the-line product, and Spam was created in 1937 partly to use up what was left of the pig after the ham had been removed. But only the wholesome parts."


            1. re: Pollo

              Jenna is right on that one. By FDA regulations, the most questionable thing you can use and still call it just "pork" is the skeletal meat, what's left after you've taken off all the chops and such. Any offal or organ meats have to be labeled as such. If you want to know where some of it goes... supermarket chorizo. There it is, first two ingredients... pork salivary glands and lymph nodes. It's not like there's just a little for extra seasoning, it's the main ingredients!

            2. re: Cathy

              After all these years, I thought SPAM was Specially Processed Anonymous Meat!

              I may get booed for this, but once in a (great) while I get a craving for Musubi.

          2. Hormel may dominate the US market, but 'ethnic' markets often have alternatives imported from other countries. Middle Eastern markets will have non-pork versions. Asian markets have both pork and non-pork versions - some of these alternatives come from Canada. In addition there are the Danish-style hams in oval cans. I've also seen generic or house brands in conventional USA groceries.


            1. leanneable and paulj,

              That's just it. I agree that ethnic markets will carry alot of different canned pork products, but it seems like the U.S. market is dominated, if not monopolized, by SPAM. Seems like a product with such a huge following would naturally lead to competitors ... or, maybe not.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ipsedixit

                Maybe it's because Spam is one of those products that people either love or hate, with few in between. People who love it either won't try alternatives, or will find fault with them (just doesn't taste right...). People who hate it, probably hate the whole concept (it's not real food, it's not natural, it;s too salty or fatty). So competitors can only fight with lower cost. There's no such thing as a 'better tasting Spam'. :)


              2. Spam is the trademarked brand name for a canned meat product produced by Hormel. There is nothing to stop somebody else from producing a similar or nearly identical product but it could not be labeled Spam. The situation is the same as Jello gelatin versus Royal gelatin.

                1. All you wanted to know about Spam and were afraid to ask. Don't miss FAQ.

                  1. If Treet isn't a direct competitor to Spam, what is it? Is it, like, the Miracle Whip to Spam's mayo?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                      Treet has some chicken but so does Spam-Lite. Spam is only pig.

                    2. Is it really that popular? I've never bought it or eaten it. My guess is it doesn't really sell that well and its not worth someone creating a competitive product.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: carolinadawg

                        By 1959, a billion cans of SPAM had been sold. The two billion mark was hit in 1970, followed by three billion in 1980, four billion in 1986, and five billion in 1993. That's a lot of SPAM!
                        I'm guessing your guess is wrong. ;-)

                        1. re: Bobfrmia

                          But it seems like the SPAM had hit its saturation point. While between 1980 and 86 a billion cans were sold in the next half of the decade it took one additional year to sell another billion cans... and has the 6th billion can be sold yet?

                          1. re: Blueicus

                            Over 7,000,000,000 and counting. I know 2 billion in 13 years and then a slow down 2 billion in 14 years, definitely a slow down. A recent business news headline said Hormel profits up bouyed by sales of Spam.

                          2. re: Bobfrmia

                            I still contend its a niche product that isn't worth another company trying to compete with (from a return on investment point of view).

                            1. re: carolinadawg

                              You have apparently never been to Hawaii.

                            2. re: Bobfrmia

                              We ketp about half of the Russian army from starving during WW11 by sendinng them Spam. I imagine they were pretty thakful for whatever we sent them.

                          3. I've seen other products in stores like SavALot which are comparable to Spam. They come in similar packaging. I have used both for a stir-fry I concocted and couldn't tell a difference between Hormel's and the other versions.

                            1. In Canada we have Kam and Klik, made by Maple Leaf foods. I'm not sure how they compare to SPAM; I've never been brave enough to try any of them.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Blush

                                Klik is pretty much the same as Spam.

                                There's also a Spam-like canned luncheon meat (aka mielonka) from Poland that's pretty easy to find in Polish/Eastern European delis in Canada.

                              2. Umm, it's Spam. I don't know who else would be that eager to jump into the market. Plus, it's the name and history that makes it a tradition. It's kind of a kitsch thing.

                                1. Aren't you confined to a single or a couple of brands if you're hell bent on buying Spam, Miracle Whip, "Vienna Sausages", Cheeze Whiz, Twinkies, and the like?

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                    In that list, all are brand names (ie there is only one maker of that item under that name) with the exception of Vienna sausages which is a generic term open to being used by anyone (Sam's Vienna sausages anyone???). The largest maker of Vienna sausages is Hormel, the maker of Spam.

                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                      There are numerous companies that sell Miracle Whip-style whipped topping, but we usually use the brand name miracle whip as synonymous with the product itself... sort of like using the word walkman (a Sony product) to denote a portable personal cassette player.

                                      1. re: Blueicus

                                        That's true, but the same is true of everything else on Sam's list, including Spam which does have nearly exact copies available in some places at least (though not necessarily at your local USA supermarket).

                                        1. re: johnb

                                          I suspect shelf space competition is the biggest reason we don't see competitors in some USA markets. In in upscale markets they have to compete with foil packs of tuna and salmon and such. Even Hormel has expanded the Spam lineup, regular cans, small cans, soft packs, lower sodium, roast turkey. At the other end there are small town groceries where Spam is the only canned meat on the shelf.


                                          1. re: johnb

                                            I always remembered the Mei Ling brand of luncheon meat (what I call SPAM) fondly... it's a Chinese brand that comes in a round cylindrical can... haven't had it in a long time.

                                      2. I have seen a similar product by the Spanish brands Virtarroz (sp) and Goya. They both look like SPAM and are packaged in the same type of can. They can be found in the Spanish/Ethnic section of your local supermarket.