Has Joey Chestnut Gone Vegan? Champion Banned From the Nathan's Hot Dog Contest

This comes after news of a partnership with a vegan meat brand.

Lauren Wellbank - Author

Jun. 12 2024, Published 12:45 p.m. ET

Joey Chestnut poses with a trophy after winning the 2022 hot dog eating contest
Source: Getty Images

Joey Chestnut may not exactly be a household name, but he has a legion of supporters behind him in the world of competitive eating. That's because Chestnut has won several high profile contests over the years, including a fan favorite competition sponsored by Nathan's Hot Dogs every Independence Day.

So, ever since news broke that Chestnut was going to be banned from the 2024 Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest, fans have found themselves asking, "What gives?"

Article continues below advertisement

Has Chestnut turned his back on competitive eating? Or has he, like some assume thanks to his new collaboration with a plant-based meat manufacturer, gone vegan? The answer to these questions may be even more surprising than Chestnut's ability to scarf down 76 hot dogs in a single sitting. Keep reading to learn exactly why the competitive eater got banned from the contest, and what he hopes to do about it.

Joey Chestnut eats Nathans Famous hot dogs during July 4, 2022 contest
Source: Getty Images
Article continues below advertisement

Is Joey Chestnut vegan now?

No, Joey Chestnut isn't vegan. He just has a deal with Impossible Foods, which makes vegan meat, leading some fans to wonder if he has gone vegan.

In fact, Chestnut is still very much into eating meat, both casually and competitively, as is evidenced by some of his social media posts about the matter. The champ even managed to take home the top prize during a May Dead End BBQ contest in May 2024, where he apparently put away 14 pounds of bologna in just eight minutes.

Article continues below advertisement

Why did Joey Chestnut get banned? Here's a look at his Impossible Foods contract.

The Impossible Foods endorsement deal was inked sometime after the July 4, 2023 contest, during a time when The Washington Post reports that the hot dog connoisseur's deal with Nathan's Hot Dogs had expired. And while the contract with Impossible doesn't prohibit Chestnut from working with other retailers, it's the people at Nathan's who are taking a hard stance on the subject.

That's unfortunate for Chestnut, who not only stands to loose out on a $300,000 deal with the hot dog brand — something a source shared with The Washington Post on the condition their name would be kept out of the press — but he'll also lose out on the contest's annual prize money, which is typically $10,000 according to a New York NBC News affiliate.

Article continues below advertisement

Joey Chestnut still hopes to participate in the Nathan's Hot Dog eating contest.

The champ better start steeling himself for some heartbreak. Chestnut wrote a thread on X (formerly Twitter) about disappointment over learning he was being banned from the contest.

Article continues below advertisement
Article continues below advertisement

But still, it doesn't seem like Nathan's plans to change its policy anytime soon. According to the chair and co-founder of Major League Eating, the association that acts as a governing body for Nathan's competitive eating contest, Nathan's has denied Chestnut's requests to reconsider the ban.

As for how this will impact Chestnut's competitive eating career in the long run is anyone's guess, but for now it's clear that if he wants to join in on the fun during the Nathan's Independence Day event, he'll need to say goodbye to Impossible Foods and whatever lucrative deal stole him away from them Nathan's in the first place... a task that may prove to be impossible, depending on just how much money the company forked up to get Chestnut on the payroll.

Joey Chestnut did not respond to a Green Matters request for comment prior to the publication of this article.

More from Green Matters

Latest Veganism News and Updates

    Opt-out of personalized ads

    © Copyright 2024 Green Matters. Green Matters is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.