As It Happens

10 wieners per pack, but only 8 buns per bag. Hotdog council calls for a fix

In a new video, Heinz Ketchup Canada announced a petition calling on "Big Bun and Big Wiener companies to finally sell buns and wieners in even packs." 

'The hot dog is the star of the show,' council president says

Hotdogs are seen in a pile before the annual Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island in 2016. (Eric Thayer/Getty)

It's a dilemma frustrated barbecuers have wrestled with for years: why do hotdogs come in packs of 10 while buns come in packs of eight? 

Now Heinz Ketchup Canada has weighed in. 

In a new video, the condiment company announced they have started a petition calling on "Big Bun and Big Wiener companies to finally sell buns and wieners in even packs." 

That would mean consumers wouldn't be left with two bun-less hotdogs at the end of dinner. 

The president of the U.S. National hotdog and Sausage Council, Eric Mittenthal told As It Happens guest host Duncan McCue that there isn't a conspiracy behind the unequal ratio, it just comes down to how buns and hotdogs are made. 

Listen | U.S. National hotdog and Sausage Council responds to Heinz petition: 

Hotdogs are packaged by weight, so 10 hotdogs usually adds up to one pound (just under half a kilogram), while buns are baked in clusters of four, in pans designed to hold eight buns total, he said.

"So there's no meeting of the minds between the two of them to organize a conspiracy. It really just happens to be the way that it makes the most sense to produce them," Mittenthal said. 

He points out that buns are also used for sausages, which don't necessarily come in packs of ten.

The petition to change the bun to hotdog ratio already has more than 19,000 signatures. 

When asked if public pressure would force some kind of change in how hotdogs are sold, Mittenthal deflected to bun makers.

"The hotdog is the star of the show. The bun is an accessory to the hotdog. So we think it makes the most sense for the buns to adjust," he said. 

"But it's a great idea to come together and solve this great riddle for mankind." 

Mittenhal says there are many solutions to the problem of two extra hotdogs. He suggests freezing them for later use, or simply buying more hotdogs and throwing a party.

In the city of Chicago they would kick you out if you ordered ketchup on a hotdog at any age.- Eric Mittenthal, U.S. National Hotdog and Sausage Council

In order to have an equal bun to hotdog ratio, a consumer would have to buy 40 each, which works out to four packages of hotdogs and five packages of buns.

In the petition, Heinz admitted that they technically don't have any power over hotdogs to make this change but insisted that ketchup makes a hotdog better. 

That's a controversial take, in Mittenthal's opinion. 

In 2015, the U.S. National hotdog and Sausage Council published its hotdog Etiquette, which, among other things, recommended an age limit on adding ketchup to a hotdog. 

"In the city of Chicago they would kick you out if you ordered ketchup on a hotdog at any age. We're a little bit more moderate. We say that over the age of 18, no more ketchup,"  Mittenhal.

Despite their disagreements, Mittenthal says the hotdog industry is friendly with Heinz and a solution is not off the table.

"Never say never," he said. 

Written by Sarah Jackson. Interview produced by Jeanne Armstrong. 



Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Account Holder

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?