Why Joey Chestnut Isn't Competing In The Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest This Year

The Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest will be missing one key ingredient this year, and it's not extra buns. The contest's 16-time champion, Joey Chestnut, will not be competing because of a branding conflict, ESPN reports

Advertisement

From 2007 to 2014, Joey Chestnut was undefeated in the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. He didn't win in 2015, but he's been the victor every year since 2016. Championships aside, Chestnut also holds the world record for most hot dogs eaten in 10 minutes with 76 hot dogs and buns eaten. Chestnut isn't just about the hot dogs, either. The competitive eater has scarfed down apple pies, Buffalo wings, donuts, and grilled cheese sandwiches. He even won the inaugural Siegel's Bagelmania World Bagel Eating Championship earlier this year. However, hot dogs are what have the champion in hot water ahead of the contest he is most associated with.

The organization that runs the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, Major League Eating (MLE), confirmed to ESPN that Chestnut won't be participating because of a sponsorship deal with a hot dog brand that is not Nathan's. The other brand deal is reportedly with Impossible Foods.

Advertisement

The conflict behind Joey Chestnut's falling-out with Nathan's Famous

Impossible Foods is a plant-based meat producer best known for its burgers and successful co-branded fast food items like the Impossible Whopper at Burger King and the Impossible Breakfast Sandwich at Starbucks. The company announced in 2023 that it intended to release plant-based hot dogs in 2024. If the brand has secured Chestnut as a spokesperson, it could be a major win for the brand and the plant-based meat industry as a whole.

Advertisement

"We are devastated to learn that Joey Chestnut has chosen to represent a rival brand that sells plant-based hot dogs rather than competing in the 2024 Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest," MLE said in a statement quoted by ESPN.

MLE's statement claimed that the Nathan's contest has been run under hot dog brand exclusivity provisions for nearly 20 years, and Chestnut's deal with Impossible Foods violates those provisions. Per MLE, Chestnut had already tested the bounds of his relationship with Nathan's by competing in a rival hot dog contest and requesting an appearance fee to appear at the 2024 Nathan's event, but his deal with Impossible Foods was the last straw.

Is that ketchup? Nope, I guess it's just bad blood now. Hopefully, the stain comes out eventually. Per the New York Post, an inside source says there's a chance Chestnut and MLE could iron out their differences before the event happens on Independence Day, but nothing is guaranteed. Neither Chestnut nor Impossible Foods have commented on the spat at the time of publishing.

Advertisement

Recommended

Advertisement