To some extent, Americans are what they buy. Consumption trends–what people purchase more of, and what they suddenly stop buying–reveal a lot about what’s happening in U.S. culture. Here are four products experiencing a recent surge in demand.
Burger King kicked off a pricing war by adding grilled dogs to its menu, leading veteran sellers like 7-Eleven and Checkers to offer deals. The result: more people eating fast-food hot dogs.
Sales of entrees served in bowls are up significantly over the past five years. Chefs like how they mix flavors, while diners view them as healthy (no bread, lots of veggies) and pretty (hello, Instagram).
A string of mass shootings and a fear of new gun-buying regulations have pushed firearm sales to all-time highs; more than 23 million background checks were conducted last year.
As the global population ages, there’s a greater demand for products that serve the elderly. Hence, adult-diaper sales are forecast to rise 48% by 2020, compared with 2.6% for baby nappies.
This appears in the April 04, 2016 issue of TIME.