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Spam, but maybe not quite the way you know it. In South Korea the famous canned meat has been cleverly positioned as an ideal ...
accompaniment for the local staple rice. Today, South Korea consumes more Spam than any country outside the United States. Over the past five years, sales here have jumped more than 40 percent, according to CJ CheilJedang, the local manufacturer.
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PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3 Spam, but maybe not quite the way you know it. In South Korea the famous canned meat has been cleverly positioned as an ideal accompaniment for the local staple rice. Today, South Korea consumes more Spam than any country outside the United States. Over the past five years, sales here have jumped more than 40 percent, according to CJ CheilJedang, the local manufacturer. That's music to the ears of U.S. food giant Hormel, which counts Spam among its flagship brands. Robust global sales of Spam helped the company post record profits in 2013. So we went to where South Korea's Spam comes from to have a look. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS REPORTER, U-JEAN JUNG, SAYING: "Now we finally made inside the Spam factory, and I can smell the saltiness of Spam in the air. Now 75,000 of these come off the conveyor belts here in South Korea, and all of it is sold in this country alone." Especially popular are these so-called premium Spam gift sets. Park Chan-hoo bought a few boxes to give to his family for the Lunar New Year. (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) SHOPPER, PARK CHAN-HOO, SAYING: "It has a longer shelf-life than other products and it's convenient because we can keep it for a long time." But South Korea's love affair with Spam goes back a long way to the 1950-1953 Korean War, when it was brought over by U.S. soldiers. Huh Gi-sook, claims to have invented the popular dish of budae-jjigae or army camp stew, which used Spam the troops left behind. (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) RESTAURANT OWNER, HUH GI-SOOK, SAYING "The U.S. army had meat and there were always leftovers. They wouldn't throw them all out. They were hungry days for us then." Well despite its not-so-happy beginnings, Spam is now a much-loved part of Korean life. And Hormel will be hoping other international markets learn to embrace, and maybe even celebrate, America's most famous luncheon meat. ENDS