The hot dog: soft bun, sizzling frankfurter and caramelised onions all smothered in sauce, it’s a simple dish but one fit for kings and truly, what could be more iconic of American food-to-go? You can just picture the cart, whether it’s pitched up at the ball game or parked on a bustling New York street, punter leaving happy with hot dog in hand. This is ‘nose to tail’ dining, grab and go with bite.
Whether you call them wieners, franks, or bangers in a bun, the roots of the ‘dog’ lie with 19th Century Germanic immigrants who, when they first came to America, began selling sausages so long that they were quickly compared to the dachshund (aka the “sausage dog”) and so the hot dog was born.
The current hot dog boom stems from the burgeoning street food scene and a new upmarket interest. Take Bubbledogs for example, where gourmet hot dogs are perfectly paired with a selection of the finest champagnes for a match made in doggy heaven. What’s more Kerry Foods, which sells 20 million hot dogs a year via 2,000+ outlets across the UK, claims that its hot dog sales saw a double-digit growth in 2017. (Bloomberg) Yep, the humble hot dog is pup no more as demonstrated by 2018’s grown up offerings which focus on quality ingredients and street smarts. Here in the UK, the hot dog has taken something of a backseat to that other US takeout staple, the burger. However, every dog has its day and the scales are now poised to tip: the hot dog trend is turning up the heat. We first heard about it from our customers towards the end of last year as requests for sustainable hot dog packaging came thick and fast.
But how can you update the classic hot dog to ensure market appeal and reach new audiences? We’ve added our expert Planglow twist looking at how 2018s hottest food trends are making the wiener dog even hotter...
Let’s start by adapting the Berlin staple, the currywurst, and get in on the booming Indian Street food trend. Chicken tikka masala may have been the UK’s national dish, but globe-trotting consumers (from intrepid travellers to avid viewers of foodie travel shows) are increasingly seeking out the real deal when it comes to most foods and not least of all curries. In fact a whopping 57% of UK consumers who have sampled world cuisines at home in the last three months place value on authenticity. (Mintel)
Indian street food meets the consumer demand for heat, but its zingy flavours and fresh, healthy ingredients offer a lighter alternative to British curries and an easy crossover to plant-based menus. Spice things up with turmeric and ayurvedic ingredients to create a superfood powered dog. Pick a Kerala style Chaat Masala dog, or a Bombay hot dog topped off with paneer cheese and coriander and lashings of mango chutney.
Plant-based hot dogs
2018 is being cited as the year that veganism goes mainstream in the UK. There are now over seven million vegetarians and three and half million vegans (Compare the Market survey) which is a significant rise from estimates of around 540,000 vegans two years prior (The Vegan Society and Vegan Life Magazine). An increasing number of people are looking for meat alternatives for ethical, health and environmental reasons, opening up a whole new opportunity in the UK grab-and-go market for vegetarian and vegan hot dogs. Demonstrating the might of the growing plant-based diet, IKEA is launching a vegan hot dog this August.
For a your own punchy plant-based hot dogs, create meat-tasting aubergine ‘sausages’ with a miso coating, smoky vegan carrot dogs, or switch to meat substitutes such as quorn or taifun grill dogs. A vegan mac and cheese dog? Yes, please!
Top of the dogs: chilli dogs and gut health
Now Sriracha has grown so very 2016, the food trend makers are looking for the latest hipster-approved replacement to this popular sweet ‘n spicy Thai sauce. Enter fiery gochujang, a fermented paste of red chili pepper and soybean, one fierce Korean condiment that will make your chilli dogs a winner while kicking Sriracha to the kerb.
Sticking with the Korean flavours, kimchi is a hot dog topping that your customers will thank you for - from the gut - because fermented food has gone mainstream and gut health has never been more on trend. Alternatively, you could always revive the dog’s Germanic roots and top with sauerkraut instead (BBC Food 15 Trends).
Get a flavour of Morocco with merguez dogs
The growing trend for Moroccan food continues apace this year making the merguez dog a strong hot dog contender for the global flavours crown.The merguez is a piquant red sausage popular in North Africa, made from lamb or beef and spiced with an array of characteristic Moroccan spices - cumin, chilli pepper, or harissa - and can also include, sumac, fennel, and garlic.
The aromas of these harissa spiced dogs will have the crowds queuing for their hot dog wrapper of spicy delights and is best served topped with pickled carrots and cumin aioli. It’s street food straight from the souk.
Hot dog trays to go
No matter how good your hot dog tastes, unless it’s well presented, the odds of winning best in show will be slim to none which is why our stylish, fully home compostable Street Hot Dog Tray is here to here to help. As with all of our takeaway packaging, the tray will break down in both domestic and industrial composting environments and is entirely made from sustainable plant-based materials.