Hormel Foods is stepping up its Spam production in an effort to meet demand for the product line during the tight economic period U.S. consumers are facing.
Hormel's Austin, Minn.-based plant that produces Spam has been running two shifts, seven days a week since July, according to Dan Bartel, a representative for the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local 9. The plant in Fremont, Neb., also has increased its Spam production.
"(Demand for) Spam has always been good, but it has become exceptionally good and I'm sure that has to do with hard times," Bartel says. The product's low price, long shelf life and versatility are strong assets now, he adds.
In September, Jeffrey Ettinger, Hormel's chief executive officer, reported that Spam sales were increasing by double digits.
According to Bartel, the current production is expected to continue indefinitely. Many workers are putting in 12-hour shifts, with some volunteering for even more to cash in on overtime pay. "When economic times are as they are right now, if workers can get overtime, that kind of puts a smile back on their face," Bartel says.