Burger King Puts Spam on the Menu
By Jaymes Song, Associated Press
HONOLULU — For many Americans, spam is a four-letter word for unwanted e-mail. In Hawaii, Spam is a beloved comfort food, with cans of the pork bricks found in virtually every cupboard.
Hoping to cash in on Hawaii's love affair with the canned meat product, Burger King (BKC) last month began offering Spam for breakfast — going head-to-head with rival McDonald's (MCD), which has offered Spam in the islands for years.
Burger King is offering the Spam Platter — two slices of Spam with white rice and scrambled eggs. The fast-food giant also offers the Croissanwich or Biscuit Sandwich with Spam.
Denise Yamauchi, Burger King managing director in Hawaii, says sales have been "very good and very promising."
Putting Spam on the menu, alongside Burger King's traditional items, such as the Whopper, has been in the works about a year, and corporate headquarters finally signed off on the idea.
"It's something that was a little unique and a little different for them, so it was a bit of a hard sell to bring to Hawaii," Yamauchi said. "But they finally realized it is a unique flavor and something the locals really like."
At a Burger King near downtown Honolulu, where a poster in the window proudly advertises "Spam in the A.M.," the Spam Platter was selling for $3.49. The nearly identical Spam, Eggs and Rice plate across the street at McDonald's was $3.39.
Melanie Okazaki, marketing manager for McDonald's Restaurants of Hawaii, said Spam has been offered at the chain's 75 island restaurants since 2002.
"In Hawaii, it is a very popular menu item, and we will continue to offer it to our customers," she said.
Burger King's latest offering runs counter to the chain's push to offer healthier fare, including salads and the meatless BK Veggie Burger. But no one can deny Hawaii's appetite for Spam.
Despite being one of the least-populated states, Hawaii leads the nation in consumption of the Hormel Foods (HRL) product. It's been a hit since World War II. Island residents consume more than 5 million pounds of Spam a year, an average of about six cans for every man, woman and child.
Spam "musubi" — a slice of Spam atop a block of rice, wrapped in seaweed — is a favorite at nearly every convenience store, including 7-Eleven. And Spam fried rice is a local classic.
There are more varieties of Spam sold in Hawaii than anywhere else. There's Spam Garlic, Spam Bacon, Spam with Cheese, Spam with Tabasco, Spam Turkey and Spam Lite, which features less sodium and less fat.
"We're pleased to see more and more restaurants adding it to their menu, providing Hawaiians additional opportunities to experience the savory, salty-sweet taste they love," said Dan Goldman, Spam's product manager.
Are you a Spam fan? What's your favorite Spam recipe?
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Why haven't I had Spam Bacon?! You people saw that right? Spam. Bacon. Oh the awesomeness that must be.
Let's go to Hawaii!