SPAM is perhaps the best known of Hormel's many products and you have to wonder what in the world would be in such a museum!
The museum is actually very well done and lots of fun to stroll through. The 16,500 sq. ft. is full of interesting displays on the the company and the history of the country as well. The first stop is this internet lunch counter were you can check out web information on SPAM and get recipes.
George Hormel founded the company way back in 1891, so the firm is now 110 years old. Some of the interesting history that we learned was how technological advances impacted the meat packing business, including refrigerated railcars, canned meat, such as canned hams and SPAM, and advertising. The fact that Hormel was an innovator in each of these areas contributed greatly to their success.
We really enjoyed the advertising history. Hormel used radio and TV from the start to publicize its products. SPAM was one of the real success storied and during WWII, was heavily used to feed the troops and other allied countries. Interestingly, this stemmed from Jay Hormel's experiences in WWI when the food sent to the troops in the trenches was almost inedible.
Hormel has had a somewhat troubled labor past, not unlike many food processing firms that experience significant cost competition. Still, I am not sure Orinda is ready to join the processing floor crew, although she is dressed for the occasion!
SPAM continues to be very popular and sales have climbed during the recession. There are now many varieties of SPAM which is really just canned ham product. We got to taste different varieties and found it to be very good. We also learned that the most SPAM per person is consumed in Hawaii.
we found that the large picture is really made up of thousands of smaller photos of Hormel and SPAM employees and processes. Pretty cool!