What Is in Spam?

SPAM Classic has seven ingredients: ground pork shoulder, ham, salt, sugar, water, potato starch and sodium nitrate. Other varieties of SPAM include additional flavoring ingredients.

SPAM is a canned, precooked blend of pork shoulder and ham, produced by Hormel Foods Corporation.

Ground pork shoulder is used for its juiciness, tenderness and flavor; ham is used to give SPAM its thickness and more flavor. Salt and sugar season the SPAM, and water adds moisture. Potato starch helps keep the moisture inside of the pork, and sodium nitrate preserves its pink color. Varieties of SPAM with slightly different ingredients include SPAM Lite, SPAM Black Pepper, SPAM Jalapeno, SPAM Teriyaki, SPAM with Bacon, SPAM Chorizo, SPAM Hot & Spicy and SPAM with Cheese.

SPAM was created in 1937 and became popular as a non-perishable meat during World War II, both with Americans at home and with the soldiers fighting abroad. Today, SPAM is particularly popular in Hawaii and the American territory Guam, where it made its way from the U.S. military bases into the local diet over time. SPAM has become an iconic product due to its popularity, wide availability and urban legends about what it is made of. SPAM can be eaten cold, fried, grilled or cooked into a variety of other dishes.