Why Do Hot Dogs Come in Packs of 10, and Buns in Packs of 8?

04/06/2011 02:32 pm ET | Updated Jun 06, 2011

As I wander through the grocery store, immersing myself in the complex challenges of one ply or two, I am sometimes struck by food non-sequitors. Here are four questions that I couldn't get out of my mind, and the answers to my random food thoughts. Enjoy!

I'm not the first to ask this question; although, judging by the amount of "net noise" it garners, apparently it has been asked for over 50 years.

Why, do hot dogs come 10 to a package while the buns come in packages of 8?

Meatpackers sell by the pound and most hotdogs weigh a tenth of a pound. Buns are typically baked in eight roll pans. I have no idea why the manufacturers haven't gotten together on this. But if you need them to come out even... purchase five bags of the 8 pack buns and four of the 10 pack hotdogs you will break even.


Why do yeast packages come in threes when all you need for most recipes are two packages?

I thought this would be a relatively easy one so I went straight to the Fleischman's yeast website. I emailed their consumer affairs department for assistance. The answer made me feel like I was asking for nuclear codes.


Thanks for contacting ACH Food, Inc. Great question! Fleischmann's yeast has been packaged in the 3-pack strips since 1950. The packages are easy to cut and remove from the strip, so regardless of how much a recipe calls for it's convenient to use. We recommend storing yeast in the refrigerator and used by the date code indicated for maximum freshness.

We appreciate your interest!

Consumer Affairs
ACH Food, Inc.

That answer struck me as akin to how a politician would answer a question -- nicely evasive. I figured I'd give them another chance, so I wrote back.

Hello Carla:

Thank you for your response; however, it still doesn't answer my question as to why 3 packages. They've changed the packaging since the 50's. Did people use more yeast then? Why not four packages?... If there were a more on point answer that would be helpful.

I eagerly awaited their response. And here it is.


Unfortunately, this is all the information we have to provide.

Consumer Affairs

Hm... Sounds like it is classified information. What could be so important? I'd love to read your comments on the significance of the number three.

We've all heard the expression, "Not for all the tea in China", so...

How much is all the tea in China actually worth?

I discovered that according to the most recent records, China produces 1,183,502 tonnes of tea yearly. At 1000 Kg to a tonne that comes to 395,289,668,000 kilograms. In July 2009 Chinese tea sold for close to 334 US cents per kilogram.
However, that still amounts to $3,952,896,680. Therefore, if you say "not for all the tea in China" you mean you are refusing quite a lot of dough.

Lastly, and perhaps most frightening...

What are "natural flavors"?


According to my research, natural flavors are anything that the FDA allows to be used in food. The Federal code of regulation reads:

The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of rasting, heating or enzymolysis... whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.

Anything else would be considered artificial flavoring. How much is left? Ok... don't answer that. Sometimes it really is better to be in the dark. Off to the farmer's market for some items that don't have any "added" natural flavors.


I think there is a food conspiracy going on, and it needs to be stopped. I, Lael Hazan, intrepid blogger, have taken it upon myself, to uncover the truth.... In food. Thank you for joining me in playing, Answer that Random Food Thought!