Hot Dog Eating Champ Joey Chestnut Banned From Nathan’s Contest For Promoting Vegan Meat Brand

Hot Dog Eating Champ Joey Chestnut Banned From Nathan’s Contest For Promoting Vegan Meat Brand

Joey Chestnut, a titan in the world of competitive eating, has been banned from this year’s Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest due to a dispute involving a new endorsement deal. Chestnut, who has won the Nathan’s contest 16 times, recently signed with Impossible Foods to promote their plant-based hot dogs, a move that conflicted with his longstanding relationship with Nathan’s Famous.

Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest is a staple of July 4th celebrations in Coney Island, drawing huge crowds and millions of viewers. It’s a spectacle where competitors race against the clock to eat as many hot dogs as possible in ten minutes. Chestnut’s dominance over nearly two decades has turned him into a household name, particularly after his record-setting performance last year, where he consumed 62 hot dogs and buns to secure victory.

The crux of the issue lies in Chestnut’s decision to represent Impossible Foods, known for their vegan hot dog alternatives. Major League Eating (MLE), the organization that governs the Nathan’s contest, had previously offered Chestnut a substantial $1.2 million contract to ensure his exclusive participation in their events. However, Chestnut’s new partnership with Impossible Foods was seen as a breach of this exclusivity. In response, MLE expressed deep disappointment, noting that despite their efforts to accommodate Chestnut, his new brand deal with a competitor led to his exclusion from the 2024 contest.

Chestnut’s move to support plant-based products represents a significant shift in his career, reflecting broader trends towards alternative proteins. Despite the setback, Chestnut remains passionate about his work. He has previously spoken about the challenges and rewards of competitive eating, describing it as the best job in the world, albeit one that takes a toll on the body due to the intense eating and subsequent need to manage weight.

The absence of Chestnut from this year’s contest marks a pivotal moment for Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. With their star performer sidelined, the competition will see a fresh dynamic, giving other top contenders a chance to claim the title. This change is expected to inject new excitement into the event, as fans and participants alike adjust to the contest’s new landscape.

As the event approaches, reactions have been mixed. Many fans have expressed disappointment at not seeing their favorite champion compete, while others are curious to see how the contest will unfold without him. Chestnut’s legacy in the competitive eating world is already well established, and his recent endorsement of Impossible Foods suggests that his influence will continue to grow in new and unexpected directions.

This year’s Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest will be a significant departure from tradition, as it moves forward without its most famous competitor. Joey Chestnut’s decision to align with a plant-based brand highlights the evolving nature of the competitive eating scene and raises intriguing questions about the future of these popular food competitions.