It’s that time of the year.
Not Christmas, not even the new year. It’s baseball season. That time when everyone seems to have a hot dog in their hands.
You’re not left out. You’re munching on yours as you cheer your favorite team on.
Nothing can come between you and this deliciousness. Well, except for one bugging thought. You’re curious: how much do Americans love hot dogs?
With the way the snack flies around, it won’t surprise you if we’re spending all our money on it.
We haven’t reached the point of spending all we earn on hot dogs… yet. But the story of this snack being an American favorite is not a myth; it’s a hot truth.
The Million Dollar Question: How Many Hot Dogs Do Americans Consume Yearly?
According to The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC), Americans consume about 20 billion hot dogs every year. Yes, that much.
Further statistics by the Council reveal how Americans feel about this treat:
- 95% of American homes eat hot dogs
- The average U.S. resident consumes about 70 hot dogs per year
- U.S. soldiers around the world consumed 2.4 million hot dogs in 2020
Statista also records that:
- In 2020, 255.28 million Americans ate hot dogs
- About 261.42 million Americans will consume hot dogs in 2024
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U.S. Cities That Top the Hot Dog Consumption Chart
There is not one state in America that doesn’t have a percentage of hot dog consumption.
Of the 20 billion hot dogs that Americans consume each year, each state has its quota. This is known as the per capita consumption per state.
The table below shows the U.S. states with the highest per capita quota:
|State||Per Capita Consumption Per State|
|South and North Carolina||279|
From the table, we may be quick to say that West Virginia won the race.
Despite West Virginia’s numbers, however, it’s the state of Illinois that is called “the hot dog capital of America.”
So which state wins? You tell us.
When it comes to cities, Los Angeles, California takes the cup. The NHDSC records that L.A. residents consume over 90 million hot dogs a year.
Hot Dog Seasons in America
Planning to visit the States?
Heard about the dog buzz, and would love to experience it? Then consider visiting during the baseball season. You will barely walk a mile without spotting someone munching on a dog in a ballpark. Or a vendor calling; “Hot dachshunds for sale!”
According to the NHDSC:
- Baseball fans enjoyed 18.3 million hot dogs during the 2019 season
- Baseball fans consumed 19.4 million hot dogs during the 2020 season
The 4th of July is another peak period. As reported by the Council, Americans consume approximately 150 million hot dogs on the 4th of July. This is enough to stretch five times from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C.
The entire July is, in fact, America’s Hot Dog Month. The Nielsen Company reports:
- Every year, between Memorial and Labor Days, Americans munch no less than 7 billion hot dogs. That’s 818 of these snacks, lost in people’s bellies per second.
- Vendors across the country make over $800 million during this time. But out of this amount, a large chunk comes from July sales. Vendors make about $614 million in hot dog sales in July every year.
Sausage Consumption Statistics at Ballparks
Sausages, the soul of hot dogs, also see massive sales during the baseball season.
According to The Nielsen Company:
- Fans of the San Francisco Giants consumed 450,000 sausages during the 2019 baseball season
- Fans of the Chicago Cubs ate 400,000 dinner sausages in the same season
- As for the Boston Red Sox? Their fans wiped out about 320,000 sausages that year
- Baseball fans consumed nearly 4 million sausages in 2019
- In 2019, New York sold $148.3 million worth of dinner sausages
- Close sales in Los Angeles and Chicago totaled $140.8 million and $110.6 million, respectively
Hot Dog Favorites Within Various American Regions and Age Groups
From the Fenway Frank to the West Virginia Dog, there are over thirty types of savory hot dogs in America.
New York City alone sells over 20 types of hot dogs.
However, information from the NHDSC tells us that not all Americans enjoy the same types of hot dogs. Various regions and age groups have their preferences:
- 60% of older consumers across the U.S. prefer all-beef sausages.
- The Dodger Dog is one of the most popular hot dogs sold and consumed at baseball games.
- Midwesterners enjoy sausages made of beef and pork in their hot dogs.
- Westerners prefer chicken and beef sausages.
- Easterners would rather have all-beef sausages. They consume the highest number of beef frankfurters in the country.
- Younger consumers relish sausages made of pork and/or chicken.
- In 2004, low-fat and/or fat-free hot dogs and sausages made up 12.4% of the total hot dog market in America. Sales from the top vendors climbed past $53 million in 2008.
Looking to start a hot dog business? These facts will help you understand your target consumer’s preferences.
As reported by Speed, knowing your target customers is a crucial factor in making sales:
“For start-up businesses in particular, identifying and understanding everything about your target audience is crucial for success…from research, you can create buyer personas (or buyer profiles) which will help you make sure your product or service is at the appropriate price and promoted via the right channels, in a way that ensures maximum return on investment. — Speed
Cooked or Grilled Sausages?
The average American would rather grill than boil their hot dogs and sausages. Grilled sausages have this “snap” to them that Americans love.
Whether you choose to grill or boil yours, never eat a sausage without reheating it.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there is a common misconception that since sausages are pre-cooked, we can eat them raw. This belief is one of the causes of food-borne diseases in the United States:
“Some ready-to-eat foods, such as hot dogs, can become contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes after they have been processed and packaged at the plant. If it’s not possible to reheat hot dogs, don’t eat them.” — United States Food and Drug Administration
Who Are the Top Hot Dog Vendors in America?
Some prefer to buy from street vendors. Others prefer to buy from restaurants. Yet others would rather go to a grocery store, buy pre-packed hot dogs, and return home to try delicious hot dog recipes.
Let’s pretend this is another competition. Which seller takes the prize for selling the most hot dogs and/or sausages to Americans? Baseball vendors? Retail stores? Or fancy restaurants?
Let the NHDSC decide:
- Americans buy 9 billion hot dogs at retail stores.
- 9% of the total hot dog sales in America are served at ballparks. Whereas, consumers buy 15% from street vendors.
- Costco sells one of the cheapest hot dogs in America, going for less than $2 with soda and toppings.
- Papaya King, New York, is one of the locals’ favorites for hot dogs. They’re also one of the best in the Eastern U.S.
- Vendors at O’Hare International Airport sell six times more hot dogs than at a combination of L.A International Airport and LaGuardia Airport.
Hot Dog Vendor Sales by Year
|Year||Consumption Statistics by Vendor|
|2011||Retail stores, excluding Wal-Mart, sold over 700 million hot dog packs. This amounts to $1.7 billion|
|2012||Consumers spent more than $1.7 billion on sausages in U.S. supermarkets|
|2020||Retail stores excluding Wal-Mart sold 944.3 million pounds of sausages, amounting to over $2.8 billion|
|2020||New Yorkers spent more money on hot dogs in retail stores ($113 million)|
|2020||Residents of Los Angeles spent $92 million on hot dogs from retail stores|
It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
There are two wonderful times of year in America: Christmas and baseball season.
We’re here for the latter. Imagine the joy of sitting next to people who share your passion for a sport. Moreso, they share your love for a snack. You may not be on the same team, but you have one thing in common: tradition.
Hot dogs aren’t just snacks in America; they’re part of the culture.
From the time the Germans introduced their weiners to us, the story of hot dogs has been carved into American history like Christopher Columbus.
We must preserve this tradition, to eat dog after dog, and to hand down its stories through generations.
At The Hot Dog, we contribute to keeping this culture through our stories, tips, and facts.
As long as there are always hot dogs to speak about, every day is a wonderful time here.