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Sales of Hormel's Spam rise as economy falls: a meaty example of regression toward the mean.

FoodFuser May 30, 2008 02:14 AM

What factors are responsible for the marked upsurge in sales of this canned porcine icon? Could Spam sales serve as an easily trackable benchmark of economic conditions? Could it even be that in his day Allen Greenspan simply picked up the hotline to Hormel to back his decisions on manipulating the economy's interest rates?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080528/ap_on_bi_ge/spam_sales

http://www.startribune.com/business/1...

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  1. k
    KevinB May 30, 2008 02:53 AM

    "Spam" is an example of what economists call an "inferior good" - one for which demand rises as income drops. Your whimsical comment has actually already been put in practice. For example, Thai economists used the rise in sales of "Mama" brand instant noodles to predict a severe recession in that economy a few years ago.

    Another inferior good is inter-city bus travel. Most people prefer to travel by air or rail, or even drive themselves, but as the cost of gas/jet fuel rises, expect to see bus travel increase over the summer.

    1. Phaedrus May 30, 2008 05:46 AM

      I would hardly call eating Spam the "mean" of our food experience.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Phaedrus
        b
        Bobfrmia May 30, 2008 08:20 PM

        Spam rocks, and I really don't find it cheap.

      2. v
        Val May 30, 2008 06:09 AM

        I groaned when I saw that article...It's so bad for you...full of sodium and fat...you want to tell people: choose the can of black beans (around 60 cents) NOT the spam for god's sake!

        1. coney with everything May 30, 2008 08:24 AM

          It's funny but when you look at price per pound it ain't that great of a deal.

          But I do remember my mom using Spam when I was a kid with 3 siblings and a father who was a low ranking NCO in the Air Force. She'd chop it up, fry it, and mix it with macaroni and cheese. She was a Depression child who swore she'd never go without meat again, and Spam was close!

          2 Replies
          1. re: coney with everything
            ipsedixit May 30, 2008 11:12 PM

            You're absolutely right. Like most canned, processed foods, Spam is not cheap on an $/ounce basis.

            You'd be better off buying something like chuck roast when its on sale, or even ground meat ...

            1. re: coney with everything
              ipsedixit May 30, 2008 11:14 PM

              You're absolutely right. Like most canned, processed foods, Spam is not cheap on a $/ounce basis. Convenient maybe, but cheap? No.

              You'd better off buying something like chuck roast when its on sale, or even ground beef.

            2. d
              dagwood May 30, 2008 11:45 PM

              Yes, but what about Treet, the spam knock-off.

              I had a friend in Tennessee who swore that Treet was superior to Spam. She received countless hours of ribbing for that statement, as one may imagine.

              2 Replies
              1. re: dagwood
                alanbarnes May 31, 2008 07:34 AM

                Hey, there are even taste tests:

                http://tastyisland.wordpress.com/2007/12/07/tulip-vs-treet-vs-spam-musubi-showdown/

                http://starbulletin.com/2003/10/01/fe...

                1. re: alanbarnes
                  e
                  EdwardAdams Jun 3, 2008 06:13 PM

                  Spamshi rules. I'm so glad. Treetshi or Tulipshi just don't make it even as hybrids of the product and sushi. Hypertensives of the world rue the entire taste test.

              2. QueenPeach Jun 3, 2008 01:11 PM

                Spam is expensive for what it is, but it's so tasty I have to get it. I try to get the low sodium or low fat kind to feel better about what I'm eating.

                1. Veggo Jun 3, 2008 07:03 PM

                  Budget-sensitive as I am, I perfected a price-conscious variation of Steak Oscar that I named Pork Felix, with the same crab meat, asparagus, and hollandaise toppings. I was subjected to a bit of ridicule and derision here for the extravagance of the accoutrements, but nevertheless it has been a wild success here and at home.
                  Should I commence work in my experimental kitchen on a "Spam Pigeon Sisters", with the same theme? I'm willing to work through the entire set of characters of "The Odd Couple" if the declining economy calls for it.

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