7/2/2013 11:13 AM ET|
The hot dog is hurting this Fourth of July
The American cookout mainstay can't escape the effects of rising costs -- and changing tastes.
We don't mean rabbit sausage served with melted brie, and we don't a mean meat-free hot-dog-shaped vegetarian options. We mean the more standard definition of the term. If the answer is anything resembling "no," you're the reason the hot dog is dying.
Bloomberg Businessweek decided to throw a big bucket of ice water over everybody's Fourth of July fireworks by illustrating the sad state of the hot dog, which was once a staple on the grill. While Americans spent $1.7 billion on hot dogs last year at supermarkets alone and are expected to down 150 million of them this Fourth of July, marketing firm Symphony IRI found that hot dog sales dropped more than 3% in 2012 from 2011. That's after two consecutive years of smaller declines.
So what's putting the kibosh on the hot dog? "Higher raw-material costs" and "higher retail price points," according to the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council trade group. "The rising costs of goods, especially beef prices," said the folks at Hebrew National, whose all-beef hot dog sales are down 5% this year from last.
The bigger issue, however, is changing tastes. Hot dog hotspots such as Hot Doug's in Chicago and Bark in Brooklyn don't shy away from traditional dogs, but they aren't shy about making field-grain-and-potato veggie dogs basting in lard and butter or about stuffing casings full of wild boar, baked ham or duck. When your target audience has been raised on curries, chilis and sriracha sauce, a dog with yellow mustard, some kraut and some token onions seems just a bit bland by comparison.
That said, not every hot dog maker is suffering. Sales at Nathan's Famous (NATH) are up by 17% from last year despite Superstorm Sandy's toll on the chain's flagship Coney Island location. Nathan's annual Fourth of July hot-dog-eating contest is still on, however, even though company execs said there's more to selling dogs these days than just lining up competitors and letting them stuff their faces.
"In tough times, if people are going to eat fewer hot dogs, they often choose a premium product," Nathan's President Wayne Norbitz told Bloomberg. "They choose to indulge."
It doesn't matter what we believe is the true answer to this riddle. The fact remains that people are getting away from traditions. All the holidays now you hear about some healthy alternative to this or that. The problem is not that we need healthier alternatives we need more active lifestyles. Yes i'll be the first to admit that I need to get my **** off the computer and go out and play, but one fact remains. We blindly believe studies and health officials when they say this or that is bad for you. Honestly I don't want my fast food more healthy and lean. Its fast food people you knew what you were buying before you forked over the cash for it. The point is we have other people telling us how to live our lives all in the name of extending your life expectancy. If you allow someone to tell you how to live your life then you're already dead.
True, times are changing as are tastes. I laugh like hell every time I hear about some "super health, salad eating, sparkling water drinking, tea totaler", who VAPOR LOCKS and is dead before they hit the ground.
Everything is life will kill you. So enjoy what you like now and leave me alone. Don't preach to me how bad, smoking, eating red meat, sweets, booze and to many other things are for ME.
If YOU want to eat healthy foods, FINE. If YOU want to exercise, FINE. What ever YOU want to do is FINE with me. JUST LEAVE ME ALONE.
So ho dogs are hurting this 4th of July and part of the reasoning(?) is because your using hot dog vendors as part of the equation?? Your story shouldnt include vendors like Barks and Hot Dougs! I have yet to see a hot dog vendor at my 4th while we are enjoying our day . However the people who show up have no trouble eating their share of grilled dogs made in the back yard.Dog ,bun ,mustard,onions and cheese ,Please! Someone pass me the fritos!
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