HONOLULU (AP) — To thank Hawaii for being the country's number one consumer of Spam, the brand will add a new flavor to the rainbow of canned meat options available in the state's grocery store aisles.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that Hormel Foods Corp. will begin offering Portuguese sausage-flavored Spam exclusively in Hawaii next month.
When the brand began studying the Hawaii market, it was immediately clear that Portuguese sausage was all the rage in the state.
The logical question, then, was "Why not put those two incredible categories together?" said LH Gamble Vice President Scott Gamble, whose company helps Hormel with marketing and sales.
The 13th flavor is officially called Spam with Portuguese Sausage Seasoning and will make its grand debut at the May 2 Waikiki Spam Jam, an annual Honolulu street festival devoted to the product.
Bite-sized samples of the new flavor will be served "hot off the griddle" at the festival, according to Spam Brand Product Manager Jennifer Nolander.
She said the Hard Rock Cafe also plans to use Portuguese sausage Spam in a new dish.
But the product, packaged in a lime green and yellow tin, could appear on shelves as early as next week in a soft launch.
"Everybody wants to be the first-to-market, to get it on the shelf," explained Gamble.
Select islanders have already been able to taste the product and Nolander said the feedback has been "very, very favorable."
The company hopes to make Portuguese sausage one of their top sellers in Hawaii, she said. If it does well, the company will continue producing it and expand it to other locations.
It's not the first flavor launched on the Spam-crazy islands. The company tested its Teriyaki and Black Pepper flavors here before launching them nationally.
Although the territories of Guam and American Samoa consume more Spam, Hawaii clings to the distinction that it loves Spam more than any other state.
Gamble grew up eating both Spam and Portuguese sausage and said the company "just nailed the flavoring in the product."