With the economy sliding further and further into the crapper, it’s reassuring to know that some inexpensive comestibles and foodage remain stable, price-wise:
Through war and recession, Americans have turned to the glistening canned product from Hormel as a way to save money while still putting something that resembles meat on the table. Now, in a sign of the times, it is happening again, and Hormel is cranking out as much Spam as its workers can produce.
Spam, a gelatinous 12-ounce rectangle of spiced ham and pork, may be among the world’s most maligned foods, dismissed as inedible by food elites and skewered by comedians who have offered smart-alecky theories on its name (one G-rated example: Something Posing As Meat).
But these days, consumers are rediscovering relatively cheap foods, Spam among them. A 12-ounce can of Spam, marketed as “Crazy Tasty,” costs about $2.40. “People are realizing it’s not that bad a product,” said Dan Johnson, 55, who operates a 70-foot-high Spam oven.
Spam “seems to do well when hard times hit,” said Dan Bartel, business agent for the union local. “We’ll probably see Spam lines instead of soup lines.”
Even as consumers are cutting back on all sorts of goods, Spam is among a select group of thrifty grocery items that are selling steadily.
Pancake mixes and instant potatoes are booming. So are vitamins, fruit and vegetable preservatives and beer, according to data from October compiled by Information Resources, a market research firm.
Speaking of beer, my mother was happy as a lark when she discovered that Georgia is now carrying Yuengling beer, the Pottsville, Pennsylvania brew many believe will be the next American beer champ. (She located it in her liquor store of choice.) I e-mailed Jim Leeds about this when she told me the news…and he was apologetic, apparently having known this earlier and neglecting to tell me about it. No harm done, Jim—trust me, Mom would have discovered this eventually…