Bring on the Hot Dogs, Hold the Brat

NEW YORK The effects of the recession may be seen on the BBQ grill this Fourth of July. Sales of hot dogs have been going up in recent months while register rings for more expensive bratwurst and knockwurst have been declining, according to new research from Nielsen. This is a reversal of sales trends the past several years.

July 3rd traditionally has the highest sales volume for all three types of meat. Consumers were 50 percent more likely to buy hot dogs during the four-week period ending on July 12, 2008 than any other time over the year. The trend is even more pronounced for bratwurst and knockwurst last year, with consumers 106 percent more likely to buy the thicker sausages during the same period.

Until recently, purchases of bratwurst and knockwurst have been growing, with annual sales rising 8.9 percent between June 2007 and June 2009. However, sales of bratwurst and knockwurst by volume have fallen by 6.7 percent over the past two months, ending June 13, 2009, compared to the same period last year.

Sales of hot dogs have seen a marked increase during the past two months, increasing 3.7 percent over the eight-week period ending June 13, compared to the same period the previous year. Considering that hot dogs are the less expensive option, the reversal of these trends may reflect consumers’ tighter BBQ budgets.

As for the beer that consumers will be buying to wash down their dogs, Nielsen predicts that almost two billion servings will be purchased in preparation for the Fourth of July in 2009. Supermarkets are likely to see the biggest increase in consumer purchases across all beer categories, with premium light beer driving almost 35 percent of sales volume.

Nielsen Business Media