FRESH MEAT TRENDS:<br />Economy Finds Hot Dog Sales Red Hot

The effects of a soft economy are apparently surfacing on backyard grills thus far this summer, according to recent research from The Nielsen Company that finds sales of hot dogs gaining steam in recent months at the expense of higher-ticket bratwurst and knockwurst.

Underscoring the reversal of trends that have taken place over the past several years, July 3 traditionally sees the highest sales volume for all three types of meat. Until recently, however, purchases of bratwurst and knockwurst have been growing steadily, with annual sales rising 8.9 percent between June 2007 and June o 2009. However, sales of bratwurst and knockwurst by volume have fallen by 6.7 percent over the past two months ending June 13, 2009, vs. the same period last year, while sales of hot dogs have seen a marked 3.7 percent increase during the past two months over the eight-week period ending June 13, 2009, vs. the same period the previous year.

As for the beverage of choice preferred by most consumers to wash down their dogs, Nielsen predicted that almost 2 billion servings of beer would be purchased in preparation for the Fourth of July 2009, with premium light beer expected to drive almost 35 percent of sales volume.

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