MILWAUKEE — Hormel Foods is advertising its Spam as a way to relieve boredom at the dinner table as the recession wears on, according to The Associated Press. Its "Break the Monotony" ad campaign begins on television and radio June 8 as consumers wanting to eat less-expensive food buy more of Hormel Foods Inc.'s low-cost Spam, as well as Dinty Moore beef stew and Hormel chili.

Designed to brighten its image, the campaign offers new uses for Spam as a contemporary ingredient that can be used in a range of comfort foods.

As the recession persists, sales of canned foods, especially canned meat, have been increasing as people limit their food spending because they usually cost less than fresh fruits, vegetables or fresh meat, said Marcia Mogelonsky, Mintel analyst.

Last year, Hormel increased Spam advertising with the first national print campaign for that brand in five years. The campaign reminded people about it and focused on new product uses like Spam singles. Spam sales increased in the double digits for the three-month period ending in April compared to the same year-earlier period. This gain was on top of gains the brand made last year, benefiting, the company says, from both advertising and the trend of people eating more at home.

This year’s campaign focuses on consumers who may be having trouble coming up with ideas for new meals each night, said Dan Goldman, senior product manager for the Spam family of products. Hormel is suggesting easy usage — like including Spam in pasta dishes — to offer uniqueness.

Hormel hopes the ads will drive traffic to its revamped Spam Web site,, which now includes more than 350 recipes segmented by four main ingredients — egg, tomato, potato and macaroni, all low-cost mates for Spam. Recipes include Cheesy Country Spam Puff, Spamaroni and Spam Lettuce Wraps, just to mention a few.

New television ads intend to reinforce the "break the monotony" theme by showing food in everyday settings being interrupted by a lively serving of Spam. The 30-second ads, which also include eggs going through roll call in a classroom and a piece of cheese on a boring date with macaroni, will air in 47 markets, including San Diego, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Dallas, through mid-October.