Gov. Mark Dayton declared Friday to be “Spam Day” in celebration of the canned meat’s 80th birthday.
In his one-page proclamation, Dayton noted that Spam debuted on July 5, 1937. The Hormel-produced meat quickly became known for its affordability and versatility. Hormel, and Spam, are based in Austin, Minn.
Eight billion cans of Spam have been sold in more than 44 countries, and during World War II, allied troops were fed more than 100 million pounds of Spam.
Since 2001, Spam has had its own museum in Austin, “to the delight of many fans,” Dayton’s proclamation said. The Spam birthday was celebrated Friday, two days after the actual date, at the museum.
In addition to the original flavor, Spam now exists in 15 different varieties, including jalapeño, hot and spicy, black pepper, chorizo seasoning, teriyaki, hickory smoke, garlic, with cheese, lite, low sodium and Portuguese sausage seasoning.
The governor recognized “the impact Spam has made as a uniquely Minnesota icon” and noted the “philanthropic efforts with the Hormel Foundation and Hormel Institute.”