Why Is Spam So Expensive? (11 Reasons Why)

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Maisie Hughes

Maisie Hughes is a 20-year veteran of the culinary world. She has worked as a chef in some of the most prestigious restaurants in the country, and she currently volunteers her time at local food banks.

If you’ve ever had Spam, then you know exactly the type of product you’re purchasing, and you might be thinking of buying more Spam but have noticed the prices have jumped lately.

Are you wondering, why is Spam so expensive? Well, I’ve been researching this topic and have found several reasons for the price, so keep reading to learn what makes it so expensive!

Why Is Spam So Expensive?

Spam is so expensive because it’s one of the most nostalgic processed meat products ever produced, and processed meats are more expensive than fresh meats. On top of that, Spam has no expiration date so it can last in your cabinet for ages without issue. Spam also is made by Hormel, so you’re paying for the name recognition.

Do you want to know the additional reasons why Spam is so expensive? If so, keep reading as I dive into the biggest factors that have led to the price!

1. It’s A Processed Meat Product

One of the major reasons why Spam is so expensive is because it’s a processed meat product, and there are many steps involved in making the processed meat ready for distribution.

For example, the main ingredients in Spam are ham and ground pork, which are combined with several other ingredients that allow the product to sit on the shelf for months at a time.

Also, salt and other preservatives are added to Spam, and then the mixture is placed into cans after being heated for a little while, and then the can is also heated, which all takes time.

2. The Manufacturing Involves Multiple Steps

Since Spam is processed meat, there are several steps involved in the manufacturing of Spam, which include people running the machines in the factory where Spam is produced.

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Additionally, labels have to be added to the cans, and then people work with the mixture and cans before the Spam cans are shipped out, and consumers pay for this process.

On top of that, you’re paying for the labor wages of those employees running the factory, and when the employer has to increase hourly wages, it causes the price of Spam to go up!

3. Long-Shelf Life

One of the big selling points about Spam is that it has a long shelf life, but this long shelf life adds to its value and is one reason why it’s so expensive!

For example, unlike a lot of other meat products, Spam is best used 3 years after the “Best by” date on the can, so it can outlast a lot of other products you purchase.

4. No Expiration Date

Similar to having a long shelf life, Spam doesn’t actually have an expiration date, which makes it a great product to have on hand for bug-out bags or emergency food kits.

Therefore, you’re paying for the fact that Spam can technically outlive you, even though it’s best within 3 years of manufacturing, and the cost reflects the longevity of the product.

5. The Nostalgia Sells Spam

5. The Nostalgia Sells Spam

Spam is so expensive because it’s a nostalgic product that has been around for more than 100 years and has been a family staple for generations.

Furthermore, nostalgic products don’t need much advertising since they sell themselves, and people are willing to pay to have that piece of nostalgia from their childhood.

6. Name Recognition

Hormel makes Spam and the name recognition of both Spam and Hormel are why Spam is so expensive since people are willing to pay for the products made by the reputable brand Hormel.

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For example, there are generic brands that have tried to replicate Spam, but they don’t sell very well because they aren’t reputable or trusted like Hormel.

7. More Spam Recipes Are Being Created

As people have been looking for quick and easy meals, it has caused many websites to include Spam recipes, andmore Spam recipes are being created than ever before!

Subsequently, because more recipes are being made that include Spam, it’s causing the price to rise as people look for more basic and quick recipes for their family.

8. Pork Shortages

Shortages of pork, whether it’s from a virus or another reason, will cause the price of Spam to increase because there are fewer pigs to slaughter to make the pork.

Therefore, every time pork is in short supply, any item that uses pork, such as Spam, is going to be more expensive to purchase.

9. High-Quality Pigs Used For Spam

According to Hormel, it uses only high-quality pigs to produce Spam, and the meat itself comes from the shoulder, which takes a long time to cook to perfect tenderness.

Furthermore, it’s a huge investment to keep pigs healthy and keep a healthy line of pigs for breeding, so the consumer pays the price for the use of only high-quality pigs for Spam.

10. It’s Still Considered Affordable Even Though It’s Not

One mistake people make is that they are going out and purchasing Spam thinking it’s still that affordable cheap product of the past when it’s increased in price over the last couple of decades.

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However, because people aren’t paying attention to the price of Spam compared to raw meat, they are purchasing it thinking it’s affordable, so this type of mistake is driving up the price.

11. Inflation

Inflation rises and falls, but when inflation is up, the costs of goods and services increase, which has impacted Spam and caused the price to go up even higher than before!

Furthermore, as inflation rises, the costs associated with producing Spam will go up as well, so you’re paying for higher manufacturing costs and shipping costs.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why sushi is so expensive, why Indian food is so expensive, and why pizza is so expensive.


Spam is expensive because it’s processed meat that takes people and machines to produce, and it’s also nostalgic and people are willing to pay money to have a piece of their childhood.

Additionally, Spam prices have soared because of the long shelf life and no expiration date of the product, so it’s a great product to keep on hand in case of an emergency or food shortage.

However, other factors can cause Spam to increase in price at any given time, including if there is a virus affecting pigs or during times of inflation.


  • Maisie Hughes

    Maisie Hughes is a 20-year veteran of the culinary world. She has worked as a chef in some of the most prestigious restaurants in the country, and she currently volunteers her time at local food banks.

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