As Americans celebrated National Hot Dog Day Wednesday, the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council says mustard is the not-surprising favorite for dog toppings, but an unlikely second has appeared in a recent survey.
Conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the Council a survey of Americans who eat hot dogs found that nearly three quarters (71%) say they top their hot dogs with mustard, followed by ketchup (52%) onions (47%), chili (45%) and relish (41%).
"Our mustard finding is no surprise given the condiment's prominent place on regional favorites like New York and Chicago Dogs, said NHDSC President Janet Riley.
Ketchup's popularity, however, was the big surprise, considering its notable absence from regional hot dog dressings.
When asked if ketchup is an acceptable hot dog topping, 79% of Americans said yes, with only 21% declaring it unacceptable. Midwesterners were most likely of any region to agree that ketchup is an acceptable topping (84%) and report that they put ketchup on their hot dogs (55%).
Riley theorized that the divergent opinions on ketchup might be related to age. While only 13% of Americans between the ages 18-34 find ketchup on a hot dog unacceptable, the percentage steadily rises as people get older with nearly one third of those over age 65 (32%) saying ketchup doesn't belong on a hot dog.
The survey also indicated that topping preferences varied regionally. Southerners are more likely to top their hot dogs with chili, cheese or coleslaw. Sauerkraut remains a favorite in the Northeast, while jalapenos are most popular in the West.
"The high scores for so many condiment options suggest that Americans may be topping their hot dogs more generously than ever," Riley said.
Two surveys were conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of NHDSC from May 21-23, 2014, among 2,066 adults ages 18 and older and June 30-July 2 among 2,047 adults ages 18 and older.