Sales of Spam are up as the inexpensive "meat product" is looking good to shoppers on a budget. It's easy to make fun of Spam. After all, it's meat that comes in a can. A can! And it's always had a reputation for being a low-end meal item. But I have fond memories of eating Spam as a kid, and we never turned our noses up at it.

With food costs on the rise, shoppers are buying more Spam in the recent months. Industry experts say the reason is simple: Spam and low-cost lunch meats are being eaten a couple of times a week instead of more expensive meat products in an effort to save money on the grocery bill.

U.S. food prices rose 4% last year and are on pace to rise 6% this year. And while the price of Spam is up 7% in the last year, it's still a cheaper alternative than many other meats. And because the canned meat keeps well in the cupboard, it's also convenient.

Spam's been around since 1937, and it looks to be going strong. Maybe now is the time for you to invest in a Spam cookbook? After all... if more households are going to be buying Spam for at least the near future, it might be worthwhile to get creative with this "other" meat.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

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