MILWAUKEE - Love it, hate it or laugh at it - at least it's inexpensive.
Sales of Spam - that much maligned meat - are rising as consumers are turning more to lunch meats and other lower-cost foods to extend their already stretched food budgets.
What was once cheeky, silly and the subject of a musical (as Monty Python mocked the meat in a can) is now back on the table as people turn to the once-snubbed meat as costs rise, analysts say.
Food prices are increasing faster than they've risen since 1990, at four per cent in the U.S. last year, according to the Agriculture Department. Many staples are rising even faster, with white bread up 13 per cent last year, bacon up seven per cent and peanut butter up nine per cent.
There's no sign of a slowdown. Food inflation is running at an annualized rate of 6.1 per cent as of April, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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