What City Is Selling the Most Hot Dogs?

Marian Zboraj
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What City Is Selling Most Hot Dogs?
Americans consumed approximately 14 billion hot dogs and dinner sausages in 2020 from retail channels alone, according to 2020 sales data from Nielsen.

You might be surprised to learn that New York isn’t the city buying the most hot dogs. Instead, that distinction goes to Los Angeles, as indicated in new 2020 retail sales data from Nielsen analyzed by the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC).

With the strong shifts to home cooking over the past year, data shows that Americans have been turning to hot dogs and sausages more often as a family-friendly choice. Nationwide, dinner sausage sales jumped 22% in 2020, while hot dog sales were up nearly 20% over the course of the year. In total, Americans consumed more than 2 billion pounds, or approximately 14 billion hot dogs and dinner sausages, from retail channels alone.

Despite its reputation as a veggie hotbed, Los Angeles was found to be the retail sales top contender for hot dogs. And while hot dog carts run rampant on New York City street corners, in terms of retail sales, the city ranked second. The full rankings for the top 10 hot dog markets are as follows:

  1. Los Angeles
  2. New York
  3. Dallas/Ft. Worth
  4. Chicago
  5. Philadelphia
  6. Boston
  7. Houston
  8. Atlanta
  9. Tampa, Florida
  10. Phoenix

While those large cities sell the most hot dogs, when considering actual sales versus expected sales based on population, Buffalo, New York, is the city where hot dogs are most popular, but hot dogs also reign in North Carolina, with the Raleigh/Durham metro area coming in second in the nation. The top 10 markets where hot dogs are most popular are as follows:

  1. Buffalo, New York
  2. Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina
  3. Charlotte, North Carolina
  4. Paducah, Kentucky/Cape Girardeau, Missouri 
  5. Greensboro, North Carolina
  6. Birmingham, Alabama 
  7. Knoxville, Tennessee
  8. Little Rock, Arkansas
  9. Albany, New York
  10. Nashville, Tennessee

"Upstate New York and the South each have great hot dog traditions, with popular local hot dog brands that drive demand in those communities," said Eric Mittenthal,  president of Washington D.C.-based NHDSC. "Buffalo is the only city with a baseball stadium named after its hot dog brand, Sahlens, while Carolina Pride dogs are a celebration of their local history dating back more than 100 years."

Meanwhile, dinner sausages like bratwurst, Italian and andouille show a similar pattern when it comes to the top markets overall. Los Angeles sells the most sausage, followed by Dallas/Ft. Worth in second and New York in third. The full top 10 dinner sausage markets are:

  1. Los Angeles
  2. Dallas/Ft. Worth
  3. New York
  4. Chicago
  5. Houston
  6. Atlanta
  7. Tampa, Florida 
  8. Philadelphia
  9. Boston
  10. San Francisco

When it comes to where sausages are most popular, however, the Deep South is king. Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is the most popular sausage market in the country with New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama next on the list.

"Louisiana's sausage culture featuring boudin and andouille is a great example of how community bonds are strengthened through delicious culinary traditions," said Mittenthal. "Sausage is a food that binds generations."

The top 10 markets where dinner sausages are most popular are:

  1. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  2. New Orleans
  3. Mobile, Alabama
  4. Dallas
  5. Little Rock, Arkansas
  6. Birmingham, Alabama
  7. Houston
  8. Jacksonville, Florida 
  9. Norfolk, Virginia 
  10. Oklahoma City

Established in 1994 by the American Meat Institute, the NHDSC serves as an information resource on questions related to the quality, safety, nutrition and preparation of hot dogs and sausages. 

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