Coronavirus prompts shoppers to hoard SPAM, canned meat

Canned meat like SPAM is a favorite of preppers because it can last for years, making it a staple for shoppers stocking up in cases of events like natural disasters — or the coronavirus pandemic.

"SPAM and Vienna sausages last a very long time," Texas resident and extreme prepper Jesse Colombo told FOX Business. "The idea is they last indefinitely, and there are very few other fat sources that have as long of a shelf life. ... You need fats in your diet."

Colombo, an economic analyst, has been stockpiling supplies since the 2008 financial crisis and estimates he has enough food to last for two-and-a-half years.

"Most people underestimate how much [food] they'd really need," Colombo said. "It frustrates me when people say they want to prep and just buy an extra bag of rice."

SPAM is believed to outlast many canned fruits and vegetables, and a rising number of people worldwide were searching for "SPAM recipes" and similar phrases on Google Tuesday.

"We understand the important role we play in feeding consumers and our entire team is working closely with our customers and suppliers to ensure a steady supply of all our products," a spokesman for Hormel Foods, which makes SPAM, told FOX Business.

SPAM is readily available in bulk online. A "Large Spam Lovers Sampler" is available on Amazon for $79.99.

SPAM originated in 1937 and "helped fill a huge need for inexpensive meat products" during the Great Depression, according to Hormel's website. SPAM is made of ground-up pork and ham that is cooked in the can before being sold.