If you've ever seen the Buck Night
crowd at Kauffman Stadium, it's a no-brainer that in times of recession people not only love comfort food but cheap comfort food.
s Gillian Gutierrez recently suggested
that hot dogs should be used as an indicator of the economy's health of the economy. Based on the ingredients suggested on cooking Web sites, she figured more hot dogs means tighter times.
Not to debunk a perfectly good theory, but hot dog consumption always increases in the summer. Ovens in Kansas City are usually off (at least during a typical August; maybe not this summer) and the grill sees its highest use of the year. As such, hot dogs are in rotation more. It's like the return of canned soup in the winter. Hot dogs are as much a factor of convenience as economy.
Even Buck Night might not be a good barometer for the food choices that people will make during tough economic times. A recent study
published in the Journal of Consumer Research
argues that people actually seek out the unfamiliar in times of change.
Time Magazine considered the results of five experiments that contrasted the amount of upheaval in a person's life with their consumer preferences:
The findings suggest that when everything seems uncertain and awful, we may be most primed to undertake positive changes in our lives.
The tests, which involved everything from juice to potato chip flavors, showed that people tended to gravitate towards something new, like Camembert and Plum potato chips, over Lay's. That changed in the final experiment, when people were asked to "STOP and THINK CAREFULLY" about a choice. Then they overwhelmingly opted for the old standby.
Just something to think about the next time you reach for a package of hot dogs.