Fresh Food

Hot Dogs the Top Dog as COVID-19 Go-To

Sales have increased up to 45%
Photograph: Shutterstock

With many lunch, dinner and snack occasions having moved from restaurants, campuses, school cafeterias and other foodservice establishments to home, the demand for hot dogs at retail skyrocketed along with it. Hot dogs very quickly ramped up as a go-to solution for families as a kid-friendly, protein dense, versatile and easy-to-prepare solution amid the coronavirus outbreak. Previously, hot dogs were a $2.3 billion category with 52-week growth of 0.7%, according to IRI. But sales quickly ramped up as shoppers started stocking up on staples in March.

210 Analytics analyzed the IRI sales data for the week ending April 12 (Easter week). Hot dog sales have seen double- and triple-digit increases ever since the week ending March 8. The two panic purchase weeks, March 15 and March 22, were the biggest for hot dog sales as well. But with increases of between 35% and 45%, the subsequent weeks remained highly elevated.

Hot Dog Sales Growth vs. Comparable Week in 2019

Source: IRI, Multioutlet, one week dollar growth vs. year ago



Beef hot dogs represent about 61% of total hot dog sales and grew the most. Sales during Easter week were still up 42%, despite the enormous increases in prior weeks. This points to a higher everyday demand following the initial stock-up purchases.

Hot Dog Sales by Type vs. Comparable Week in 2019

Source: IRI, multioutlet, one week dollar growth vs. year ago

The surge in sales numbers shows shoppers are in the market for all pack sizes, large and small. The most common pack size is eight hot dogs, representing 51% of all sales, which explains the somewhat lower growth rate. Even so, larger pack sizes of 10 and 24 have been doing very well these past few weeks.

Hot Dog Sales by Count vs. Comparable Week in 2019

Source: IRI, multioutlet, one week dollar growth vs. year ago

Anne-Marie Roerink is principal of 210 Analytics, which specializes in research for the food retailing industry and authors studies in meat, produce, bakery, deli, frozen, confectionery, snacks and retail operations. She can be reached at


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