The Memorial Day weekend kicked off the summer grilling season and Americans are once again celebrating with a favorite food: hot dogs. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC) estimates that Americans will eat seven billion hot dogs during the 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 per year.
“There’s nothing better than a hot dog and a cold drink on a warm summer day," said NHDSC President Eric Mittenthal. “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 that the ingredients are a mystery to them. New research commissioned by the NHDSC and conducted online by Harris Poll finds that 72 percent of Americans say that the true ingredients of a hot dog are a mystery to them. This is despite the fact that a hot dog’s 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 on average Americans estimate that a standard hot dog contains 210 calories, while 41 percent of Americans say that they do not know. While calories vary by brand, USDA says the average standard beef hot dog contains just 154 calories.
The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council has developed several resources to help address these misperceptions. 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.”