Oscar Meyer teaches an ol' dog new, nitrate-free tricks

May 15, 2017 | by S.A. Whitehead

In the wake of increasing scientific and public support for the elimination of nitrates and nitrites in meats, Kraft Foods said its Oscar Meyer brand is offering hotdogs with no additional nitrates or nitrites, aside from those found naturally in celery juice, which is used in the products. The brand's dogs also now have no artificial preservatives or by-products, a news release said.

The product took a year of testing to perfect, which is one reason the company is sinking big bucks into a 3-month-long Weinermobile-based marketing campaign. The offbeat, hot dog-adorned vehicle will travel the nation this summer to put the new dogs in the hands of consumers everywhere. 

"While it wasn't an easy task, we're excited to say that we did it," Oscar Mayer Marketing Director Greg Guidotti said in a news release. "Oscar Mayer is the first national brand to do it across every single one of our hot dogs, and we did this without changing the price to our consumers. We're excited that everyone will now have access to a better quality hot dog with the best quality ingredients."

Included in the mobile marketing campaign are first-time trips on water in one of the six vehicles involved and lots of incentives for customers to create buzz about the new dogs on social media. 

"We're putting the Wienermobile on-water in New York Harbor for the first time, visiting remote towns outside the contiguous United States, and empowering the Wienermobile drivers to make as many off-the-beaten-path stops as they can make," Oscar Meyer Brand Build Director Whitney Shaw said in the release. 

Just last December, the Center for Science in the Public Interest called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to require a warning label on packages of nitrate- and/or nitrite-containing bacon, ham, hot dogs, and other processed meat and poultry products, advising consumers that regular consumption of such foods was found to vastly increase colorectal cancer risk. This follows a 2015 International Agency for Research on Cancer finding in 2015, that such meats are  "carcinogenic to humans."  

Colorectal cancer is the scond-leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., responsible for about 50,000 deaths here last year alone. In fact, the international cancer group, along with the American Cancer Society and World Cancer Research Fund all cite research that found about an 18 percent increased risk of colorectal cancer for every 50 grams of processed meat consumed daily, which is slightly less than two ounces. 

The Center for Science in the Public Interest said that 12 leading medical and scientific experts sent a letter last year to outgoing Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack requesting the warning label on such meats. 

"We recognize that the chances of the Trump administration taking advantage of this opportunity to protect the public health are slim," Center for Science in the Public Interest Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson said in a news release.  "But at CSPI we're used to taking the long view.  We will continue pushing for regulatory measures that will protect the health of Democrats, Republicans and all others."

Photo: iStock



S.A. Whitehead

Award-winning veteran print and broadcast journalist, Shelly Whitehead, has spent most of the last 30 years reporting for TV and newspapers, including the former Kentucky and Cincinnati Post and a number of network news affiliates nationally. She brings her cumulative experience as a multimedia storyteller and video producer to the web-based pages of Pizzamarketplace.com and QSRweb.com after a lifelong “love affair” with reporting the stories behind the businesses that make our world go ‘round. Ms. Whitehead is driven to find and share news of the many professional passions people take to work with them every day in the pizza and quick-service restaurant industry. She is particularly interested in the growing role of sustainable agriculture and nutrition in food service worldwide and is always ready to move on great story ideas and news tips.


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