Hot dogs sales skyrocket by more than 120% during the coronavirus pandemic, as Americans embrace the 'best quarantine food'

Irene Jiang / Business InsiderDuring the pandemic, people are buying more hot dogs than ever before.
  • Hot dog sales surged by more than 120% during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • 210 Analytics founder Anne-Marie Roerink said Americans’ love affair with hot dogs will continue through the summer, as people seek quick, easy meals they can make at home.
  • Insider’s essays editor Sophie Kleeman wrote an opinion piece in April explaining why hot dogs are the “best quarantine food,” arguing they are affordable, long-lasting, versatile, and delicious.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Hot dog sales are soaring, as people stuck inside during quarantine turn to processed meat.

Sales of hot dogs exploded as people sheltered-in-place in March, according to data from data analytics firm IRI. For the week ending March 15, hot dog sales were up 123% compared to the same week last year. They soared 127% in the week ending March 22.

While sales fell somewhat as shoppers’ stockpiling slowed, people are still buying far more hot dogs in 2020 than they did last year. Hot dog sales were up 36% in the week ending May 3, according to IRI data. Since the pandemic started in early March, sales have been at least 29% higher every week compared to the same week in 2019.

Anne-Marie Roerink, the founder of market research firm 210 Analytics, told Business Insider that America’s love affair with hot dogs is expected to continue through the summer.

People are gravitating towards hot dogs because they need quick, easy meals they can make at home, Roerink said. Hot dogs are versatile, have a long shelf life, and can easily be frozen and saved – something that is especially important in light of meat shortage concerns.

With children out of school and stuck at home, hot dogs also offer a convenient option for parents.

“There are those instances where mum and dad want something for dinner that kids may not like,” Roerink said. “As easy, versatile, protein-filled, and kid-friendly solutions, that’s where hot dogs come in. They make for a quick lunch with some fruit on the side. Or a beloved dinner for the kids while the parents have sushi.”

Hot dogs are the ‘best quarantine food’

Hot dogIurii Golub/500px/Getty ImagesHot dogs are a perfect option during the pandemic.

Even people without children are finding themselves embracing hot dogs during the pandemic. Insider’s essays editor Sophie Kleeman wrote an opinion piece in April explaining why hot dogs are the “best quarantine food,” highlighting many similar points to Roerink.

Kleeman argues that hot dogs are affordable, “low-maintenance, but capable of transforming into haute cuisine,” long-lasting, versatile, and delicious. This retail correspondent’s belief that hot dogs are best eaten outside – making them a less promising food for those self-isolating – makes an appearance in Kleeman’s piece, though she was quick to provide a counter-argument.

“Hot dogs are best eaten outside, in someone’s backyard in July, wearing jean shorts and buzzed on a beverage or three,” Kleeman writes. “But because we can’t do that at present, hot dogs also shoulder yet another responsibility: they are an escape, a pleasant reminder of what once was, and what will be again, someday.”

Roerink also pointed to a darker reason for the dominance of hot dogs during the pandemic: the new economic reality in the US, as unemployment hits record highs.

“Its impact on the meat purchase is that we see more value-focused meats start to grow, and hot dogs are certainly among those,” Roerink said.

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