The word ‘Spam’ is a portmanteau of “spiced ham”, though the product was originally known as Hormel Spiced Ham. It was changed to Spam in 1937 based on the contest-winning suggestion of of Kenneth Daigneau, a New York actor (and brother of a Hormel executive) who pocketed $100 for his winning entry. But according to a Hormel official, the fusion of terms was misleading since it contains little ham, so the company instead suggested the new name was short for “Shoulder of Pork and Ham.”
As Spam has become a cultural icon, it has accrued dozens of other backronyms as well, mainly based around its odd texture and consistency. But Hormel now claims that Spam can’t simply be boiled down into the letters of an acronym: the meat, it says, is a product all itself.
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