Most of us think of junk e-mail when we hear the word “SPAM.” It’s easy to forget that it’s actually a popular food in many parts of the world. From the U.S. to the Philippines, people crack open cans of SPAM for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Read on for five fun facts about everyone’s favorite mystery meat.

It’s Actually Cooked In The Can

A blend of pork, ham, and spices, SPAM is cooked right inside its iconic blue can. All of the ingredients are mixed together, sealed shut in the can, then put into a six-story-high cooker. The cooker holds 66,000 cans and heats them until the meat is cooked and all of the bacteria are killed. This automated process produces 350 cans per minute.

SPAM Literally Fed An Army

During World War II, SPAM producer Hormel contributed to the war effort by sending 100 million cans to American troops and their allies. The meat had a long shelf life and required no refrigeration, thus ensuring that soldiers around the world would be well-nourished during their tours of duty.

A Comedy Sketch Led To An Email Term And A Musical

Monty Python’s iconic SPAM sketch debuted in 1970, which featured a cafe that served all of its dishes with SPAM. The sketch’s enduring popularity led early computer users to use the name for unsoliticed email messages. It was also used in a line in the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which became the musical Spamalot.

The State of Hawai’i May Have Been Saved By SPAM

After World War II the American government placed sanctions on the largely Japanese-American fishing industry in Hawai’i. Since fishing was severely restricted and could no longer feed most Hawai’ian citizens, they found another prime source of protein: SPAM. After the sanctions were lifted, SPAM remained a part of the regular Hawai’an diet. Today, Hawai’i consumes approximately 7 million cans of SPAM annually, which is more SPAM per person than any other state in the country.

Billions Of Cans Have Been Sold

Since its creation over 80 years ago, there have been over eight billion cans of SPAM sold worldwide. There are now 15 different types of SPAM (including lower sodium and lower fat versions) and they’re found in 44 countries. And the love of SPAM is only growing, as one million cans are now being eaten daily.