The Memorial Day weekend kicks off the summer grilling season, and Americans will once again celebrate with a favorite food: hot dogs. The National Hot Dog & Sausage Council (NHDSC) estimates that Americans will eat 7 billion hot dogs during the grilling season, which runs from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. That’s 818 hot dogs per second and more than a third of the hot dogs eaten all year.
“There’s nothing better than a hot dog and a cold drink on a warm summer day," NHDSC president Eric Mittenthal said. “It’s an American tradition that goes back generations and remains a great way to bring family and friends together.”
Despite hot dogs’ popularity, many Americans still report confusion over the ingredients. New research commissioned by NHDSC that was conducted online by Harris Poll found that 72% of Americans say the true ingredients of a hot dog are a mystery to them. This is despite the fact that the ingredients are required to be listed on the package.
Similarly, Americans tend to overestimate the calories in a standard hot dog without the bun. The same research found that Americans estimate, on average, that a standard hot dog contains 210 calories, while 41% of Americans say they do not know. While calories vary by brand, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says the average standard beef hot dog contains just 154 calories.
NHDSC has developed several resources to help address the misperception. A recently released guide to hot dog ingredients allows people to search for the ingredients listed on a hot dog package and learn more about what those ingredients are and why they are used. A new hot dog and sausage nutrition guide will debut this summer. A video showing the full process of how hot dogs are made is also available.
“People want to know more about what’s in their food and its nutrition benefits, and we’re excited to make that information available,” Mittenthal said. “They’ll find that much of the mystery surrounding hot dogs is actually mythology.”
More resources on hot dog history, culture and consumption are available at www.hot-dog.org and on the NHDSC Facebook page.