The pretzel is taking over the American stomach.

Particularly as a holding vehicle for burgers and sandwiches. 

Now the pretzel craze that began last summer has extended into this fall.  A record 160 pretzel products were rolled last year, vs. fewer than 60 back in 2009.

And this may be just the beginning.

It is even projecting that some sort of pretzel doggie treat will possibly hit the market. After all, many folks love to feed their pooches dog-ified versions of what they eat themselves.

So many restaurants already have jumped in — and some, out already — that pretzel buns are almost becoming common. Maybe that’s why pretzel bread is the fastest-growing sandwich bread, with a 36% jump on sandwich menus from 2011 to 2012.

Pretzels have been transplanted into just about everything this year. What’s driving all this pretzel-mania?

For one thing, pretzels taste yummy and crunchy, but don’t typically come loaded with all the fat grams of other breads and pastries.

Look for crushed pretzels showing up in fancier entrees soon, possibly in the form of pretzel-crusted fish or pretzel-crusted chicken.

usatoday.com, 9-25-13