Our Labor Day barbecue might not include hot dogs.
However, before we look at the shortages, for a smile, do consider some timeless hot dog etiquette (like no ketchup):
Hot Dog Shortages
Some grocery chains have said they are short on hot dogs.
On the supply side, fewer hot dogs were produced when the pandemic hit meat processing plants. Responding to the Covid-19 spread, Tyson, Smithfield, and Cargill closed plants in states that ranged from South Dakota to Iowa to Pennsylvania. For the same reasons, truck drivers had some delivery problems.
But even before the plant shutdowns, hot dogs were selling like…hot cakes. When the economy slumps, hot dog sales tend to rise. Also, with the kids home for lunch during the lockdowns, parents stockpiled hot dogs. Then, with Hurricane Laura approaching, hot dog buying increased in Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas. And, to all of this we can add our Memorial Day, Father’s Day, and July 4th cookouts.
The result is close to a 17 percent increase in this year’s hot dog sales compared to the same time last year. Or, as the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council reports, with one- third of the year to go, we’ve consumed 83 percent of hot dogs sold in 2019.
These numbers show all of the extra hot dogs we are consuming:
Our Bottom Line: Supply and Demand
With constrained supply and soaring demand, an economist would expect prices to rise. And they did. From April to May, hot dog prices were up 1.6 percent and for July, 2.4 percent.
But don’t worry. The CEO of a large supermarket chain said, “I’m sure they’ll get up to speed; it’s not there yet. There’s still some holes.”