Oscar Mayer announced today that they’re cleaning up the label of their iconic hot dog by removing added nitrates and nitrites, artificial preservatives, and by-products.

The mere idea of a clean label hot dog might seem like an oxymoron — they’ve long been of those you’ll-only-eat-it-if-you-don’t-know-what’s-in-it kinds of foods. The company’s head of marketing Greg Guidotti admits that “it wasn’t an easy task.” But, after more than a year, “we’re excited to say that we did it.”

What will the new nitrate, nitrite, artificial preservative, and by-product free Oscar Mayer wiener taste like? Just like the one you know and love — at least that’s what the company hopes.

If history provides a clue, they might very well succeed. Last year, Kraft Heinz reformulated its mac & cheese to get rid of artificial flavors and preservatives and, according to the company, no one noticed.

This is all great news for other food companies seeking to appeal to today’s consumers with cleaner labels, like Hershey’s, which last week pledged to cut the calorie content of its candy bars, and Nestle, which is working to reduce the sugar in its chocolate products. It’s also great news for those of us who plan to do our part in eating the 19 million hot dogs expected to be consumed at baseball stadiums this year.


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