Hope certainly was a word being tossed around quite liberally at the turn of 2009 — but it doesn’t appear that any high hopes materialized too much in regard to the sausage industry.

Sure, dollar sales were up 3 to 4 percent across the three segments tracked by Information Resources Inc. But if processors thought their brands couldn’t possibly squeeze out a smaller uptick in unit sales, the latest numbers from the 2009 calendar year proves that theory wrong. Unit sales did not match the small growth of the previous year, except in refrigerated frankfurters, where unit sales gained 0.15 percent, compared to a loss the previous year.

Does this mean consumers “downsized” in the sausage marketplace as well, choosing instead the lower-priced frankfurter (on average) over its sausage brethren? If so, how many more will downsize? With the economy appearing headed toward more of a normalization, it will be interesting to see which way sausage lovers trend in 2010.

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