The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC) reports that hot dogs are served in 95% of American households, estimating an astounding 20 billion eaten annually, boiling (no pun intended) down to about 70 dogs per person. The beloved classic is often associated with summer, amusement parks, drive-in movies and the fourth of July. But over the years, many have wondered if they could improve on this staple of Americana.
As millions of Americans gear up for this patriotic holiday, we wanted to take a closer look at some of the proposed changes and interesting ideas that have been suggested. While seemingly trivial, it’s estimated that 150 billion franks are consumed as part of the festivities.
From the unique to the practical, here are some of our favorite concepts:
The Flat Dog
Since the original hot dog has been around for almost 60 years, one could argue it’s time for a makeover. The cylindrical nature of the dog is not only unattractive, it is also limiting in the types of accompanying buns, a choking hazard for young children and it fails to hold condiments without the protective borders of a hot dog bun.
A New Jersey business owner was able to re-make the hot dog, and attained a new patent in the process. The new and improved frankfurter resembles the shape of a textured hamburger: the new process creates two large textured surfaces that reduce the likelihood of choking, and holds onto condiments more effectively.
Patent: Textured Hot Dog and a Method to Manufacture a Flat Dog (Source: Wellspring Scout)
This new and improved shape is a result of the change in manufacturing steps, as opposed to the long thin cylindrical pieces of meat that were cut widely, the new process produces a thick loaf-like shape and thinly creates hot dog “slices.” This is done using a two-coat, two-cut system in order to increase and maximize the textured surface space.
The flat dog is not the only twist on an American classic – thousands of patents are passed each year in the food product and food manufacturing industry in attempts to revolutionize the various foods we’ve come to know and love.
The Chicken Dog – While millions of Americans are fans of the traditional sausage, given recent health trends our health conscious friends can still enjoy the festive food as its filling has changed. Not only is there now a chicken alternative, this composition consists of low sodium and alimentary fibers as well.
Patent: CHICKEN HOT-DOGS WITH LOW SODIUM CONTENT AND DIETETIC ALIMENTARY FIBERS ADDITION (Source: Wellspring Scout)
The Instant Hot Dog – Similar to the structure of a treat loved by children, the Uncrustrable captivated the nation by creating a seam instead of sandwich crusts; not only does this revolutionize the ability to consume all inner ingredients without the mess or fear of fall out, the perfect circle also reduced the classic childhood dislike of crusts. Now, the age old question is a hot dog a sandwich can finally be put to rest: yes – at least the instant dog is. The instant dog places all ingredients and condiments inside the soft casing of the sandwich, and has been considered for expanding beyond the dog and inserting condiments into french fries as well.
Patent: Condiment filled food items (Source: Wellspring Scout)
Sausage on a Stick – The corndog, another American favorite, is a sausage coated in cornmeal and fried, but thanks to this 2018 patent, the corndog is also getting a makeover. As opposed to the cornmeal batter we know and love, the new idea coins three different flavors of dough: brioche, pizza and plain.
Patent: New sausage on a stick food product comprises cooked sausage inside covering of cooked dough with stick inserted in one end (Source: Wellspring Scout)
Anyone who has ever attended a barbecue has likely faced the age old quandary - hot dog or burger. Now, thanks to a reimagined bun design, no one will ever need to face such a terrible dilemma again. According to the patent, the unique shape of the “Hamdog” bun provides coverage for a burger while also leaving room for a hot dog in the middle. While the exact details of licensing this culinary creation are unclear, its inventor has expressed interest in franchising the idea.
Patent: Combination hamburger and hotdog bread bun (Source: Wellspring Scout)
An Explosive Bonus, Another Fourth of July Favorite - Fireworks
What goes well with fun new forms of frankfurters? Fireworks! In addition to the recent advancements in hot dog genetics and production, fireworks have also received plenty of attention in the past several decades.
VideoWorks – While laying on a picnic blanket or sitting in a yard chair looking at the night sky illuminated by fun colors and shapes, it's hard to miss the line of smoke that follows each fun explosion. Those who are behind the firework production know the importance of the smoking lines as it's an indicator for appropriate timing before another may be launched. These visuals are made with projection mapping technology to utilize the firework smoke as another potential form of entertainment.
Patent: VIDEO FIREWORKS (Source: Wellspring Scout)
Cold Fireworks – a new take on an old reliable, “cold” fireworks use eruption, activation and ejection units to eject sparks from one apparatus to another in order to create the pyrotechnic display. The notion behind this innovation is to create a safer firework production.
Patent: Cold fireworks (Source: Wellspring Scout)
Electronic Fireworks – similar to laser light shows this contraption is able to bring all the colorful dancing lights into a dark room right at home. The device is composed of control panels and wires, barrel body, gas tank, and LED lamp beads This device creates a plural light effect which can be bounced and scattered throughout the air through various holes in the device and powered electronically.
Patent: Improved electronic fireworks (Source: Wellspring Scout)
Stand Out Startups:
Hot dog and firework evolution is only a small sliver of the current innovation trends in the food and pyrotechnic industries. Sustainability and new technologies are large forces pushing the boundaries of the classic 4th of July fun we’ve known in the past. Check out these start-ups:
- NextGen Foods is a Singapore-headed 2020 food-tech startup that creates plant based protein. Utilizing agricultural food ecosystems their products are full of nutrients and has recently had great success with their plant-based chicken, TiNDLE. (See it in Scout)
- Upside FOODS uses animal cell-based protein production methods to create protein without raising and slaughtering animals. Not only do they reduce the ethical issues associated with meat production, their technology also uses less water, land, and energy than traditional meat production. (See it in Scout)
- Sky Dreams Creative goes beyond the traditional firework displays that we know and love. Not only do they provide personalized firework shows with the assistance of designers, they also offer multiple innovative types of fireworks including shells, cakes and fountains. With various displays in the pyrotechnic industry, they have also created a name for themselves with pyro-musicals, combining firework displays with musical cues. (See it in Scout)
For more insights like this on other trending markets, check out the entire Data Spotlight series.Hot dog photo created by freepik - www.freepik.com