Feb. 16, 2017
Links, patties, ground and for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the US loves sausage.
According to a September 2016 Harris Poll conducted for the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC), a majority of Americans favor sausage. Almost nine out of 10 respondents (89 percent) said they enjoyed sausage, including 93 percent of men and 85 percent of women. Links, patties, loose and for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the US loves sausage. The poll found a wide variety in the types of sausage that American diners prefer – Italian and patties tied for favorite among respondents at 20 percent each with breakfast links at 15 percent and bratwurst at 12 percent.
Preferences for favorite types of sausage vary across the US. According to the Harris Poll, Northeasterners are most likely to say Italian is their favorite (33 percent). Southerners enjoy breakfast patties (26 percent), while Midwesterners are most likely to prefer bratwurst (19 percent).
Regardless of type, this passion for sausage is reflected in the numbers. From 2011 to 2016, sausage consumption in America steadily rose from 231.88 million consumers to 246.81 million, according to the 2016 Simmons Profile Report from marketing services company Experian and the US Census Bureau. Statistics company Statista.com projects the number of sausage consumers to hit 260.49 million by the year 2020 based on the figures of the last five years.
Technomic’s latest MenuMonitor numbers support the steady growth in sausage consumption across multiple categories of the menus at the top 500 restaurant chains.
Breakfast and dinner sausages are especially substantial in foodservice. According to the global information, data and measurement company, Nielsen, 2015 dinner sausage sales were $3.85 billion, an increase of 2.5 percent. Breakfast sausage/ham sales grew 3.6 percent at $578.2 million.
Consumption among demographics differs slightly. Lower income families consume the most breakfast sausage while dinner sausage consumption is more consistent throughout various income levels. Also, larger families eat the most breakfast and dinner sausage, as well as younger families, and sausage consumption tends to taper off considerably for senior citizens.
Also, seasons play a role in when sausages are consumed. During the summer months, dinner sausage sales peak with dollar sales accounting for nearly one-third of annual sales while breakfast sausage sales peak during the holiday months from November through January.
Sausage’s cousin, the hot dog
Hot dogs have long been a staple in the American diet. Ball games, summer cookouts – especially the Fourth of July – or just an easy meal to feed the family and many other occasions all provide the perfect opportunity for the hot dog. The Nielsen Company data from 2015 shows just less than 1 billion lbs. of hot dogs sold at retail stores for over $2.5 billion in retail sales.
You can’t mention eating hot dogs in America without referencing professional baseball. The correlation is apparent in the fact that the top 10 hot dog consuming cities in the US all host major league teams. Also, baseball season in America and “hot dog season” are one in the same.
Hot dog producers estimate that an average of 38 percent of the total number of hot dogs sold annually are sold between Memorial Day and Labor Day ($614 million).