Canned meat sales surge as coronavirus pandemic continues

Spam, the often-maligned classic canned lunch meat made by Hormel Foods, is seen on a grocery store shelf May 29, 2008 in Sierra Madre, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

From Spam to ham, sales of canned meat are reportedly surging as the coronavirus health crisis continues.

Shoppers around the world are said to be turning to the shelf-stable item as a preferred protein choice amid a future of uncertainty. In the U.S., sales of canned meat leapt over 70 percent during the 15-week period ending June 13, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

As food prices hit record highs and consumers stick to tighter grocery budgets amid the pandemic, not even the producers predicted such a spike.

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"It's not very often when you're in food that you can see traditional products like these grow as much as they have done right now," Kasper Lenbroch, CEO of the Tulip brand at Danish Crown Group, the top meat processor in Europe, told the outlet.

Tulip Pork Luncheon Meat's sales are allegedly expected to rise 25 percent this year, with sales up across the U.K., Germany, Greece, Japan, Singapore and more.

In April and May, South Korea's sales of the much-loved Spam surged over 50 percent year-over-year, Korean producer CJ CheilJedang Corp. said.

Stateside, outbreaks of COVID-19 at meat processing plants have caused prices of fresh meat to rise – making canned choices like Hormel Foods Corp.'s Spam all the more popular (and affordable) an option.

"The last time Spam saw a similar pattern in interest was back to when the brand started during the Great Depression. The economic situation wasn't great – that was carried into World War II," Brian Lillis, senior brand manager for Spam at Hormel Foods, told Bloomberg of the unexpected uptick.

"What we saw over the last few months is really people all over the country purchasing the product."

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Beef prices more than doubled in May as manufacturers blamed shortages on processing bottlenecks caused by employee absences at meatpacking plants. Now, the Justice Department is examining allegations of price-fixing across the meat industry as consumers and grocers continue to fret about price spikes or shortages related to COVID-19.

FOX Business' Evie Fordham contributed to this report. Get the latest updates on this story at