Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Meat the Press

I feel that it is my familial obligation to address a growing concern in our economy today. With inflation out of control and our debt skyrocketing, we cannot leave certain problems to just fester and grow. This will only lead to a downward spiral of death, despair, and pain. Accredited economists claim that our country is heading down a hard road, and the point of this blog is to focus on the worst of these horrible events:

The rising cost of SPAM.

I know what your saying, "How come I haven't heard of this atrocity on the news?"
It seems like something so severe as this would be a daily highlight everynight on every station. But alas, like so many other crucial facts, the SPAM problem, or "Spamdemic" as I will refer to it from now on, is swept under the rug and kept from the general public.

First of all, let us analyze the product itself.

As you can see from the "nutritional" data, Spam has a lot going on. For example, the serving size itself is 56 gram, or 2 ounces for us Americans. A full can of Spam is 12 ounces or 3/4 of a pound. Lets say, for argument's sake, that you and a friend split a can of Spam evenly between you.

You just consumed:

45 grams of fat, of which 18 grams is saturated.
117 milligrams of cholesterol
2301 milligrams of sodium
6 grams of carbohydrates
21 grams of protein

I haven't even mentioned the 522 calories, which is over one quarter of the recommended daily intake. Now this information is assuming that you ate the Spam naked, with no condiments or bread or cheese, which we all know is NOT going to happen. So lets just say that Spam is not all that great for you.

But society has taught us that poor people eat Spam. As if your income to debt ratio somehow forces you to buy canned meat with poor nutritional value. I guess the idea of getting so many calories and so much substance for the price makes it appealing to poor starving slobs.

Lets get back to the Spamdemic details.

Value was the reason for buying Spam in the first place. Feed the family, get them nice and round, and save a buck in the process. This is no longer the case. Some fantastic upswing in faux-pork prices has occurred without the public noticing.

Here is my research:

The average price of a can of Spam is up almost 7% in 2008 to $2.62, or 22¢ per ounce, according to the AP. That makes it costlier than both the average retail price of pork, 18¢ per ounce, and ground beef, 14¢, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

So Hormel, the maker of Spam, has raised its prices during an economic crisis to capitalize on poor people. And nobody noticed. If this data is correct, this means that it would make more sense to buy a 2 meal at McDonald's, which is a Quarter Pounder, fries, and a Coke, than to buy a can of Spam and a 2-liter of generic soda.
Maybe when the news harps on how irresponsible parents take their kids to fast food joints so much, we need to consider the alternative. In trying times as these, and tyrants like Hormel driving up canned meat prices, the dollar can go further if you're smart about your purchases. As far as nutritional values go, nowadays you can get a McDonald's Happy meal with fruit slices and a jug of milk. So who's the healthy one now?

My biggest concern in regards to the Spamdemic is how it affects people like me. I'm not rich, but I'm not poor either. I eat Spam because I LIKE Spam. I ate Spam as a youth, and now I share Spam with my children. We enjoy eating it. We don't feel obligated to buy it because of some economic crunch, we get it when we want it. Recently, we have had to restrain ourselves from buying Spam. Since the price is so high now, it seems kind of ridiculous to buy.

My sister recently sent me, in the mail, a Spam Singles, which is one serving of Spam. It cost her $1.19 at the local supermarket. In case you were wondering, it cost her more than that just to ship it to me. I can't judge her though, seeing as it was by far the most entertaining piece of mail I have ever received in my entire life.
If you think about it, its slightly ironic. Spam is associated with the poor, and now I'm going to stop buying it because it costs too much.

Damn you Hormel and your money hungry executives. Shame on you for capitalizing on economic stereotypes, and shame on you for making one of my edible indulgences so expensive.

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