BUSINESS + ECONOMY

This is Oscar Mayer’s newest hot dog

Mar 6, 2024, 11:00 AM

Oscar Mayer plant-based...

Oscar Mayer is adding plant-based hot dogs and sausages to its lineup. (Mandatory Credit: Noah Fecks/Kraft Heinz/NotCo via CNN Newsource)

(Mandatory Credit: Noah Fecks/Kraft Heinz/NotCo via CNN Newsource)

New York (CNN) — Oscar Mayer is going vegan, even though the fad appears to be fading.

For the first-time ever, the Kraft Heinz-owned brand is going plant-based with two new versions of its hot dog and sausage it says offer a “smoky, savory taste and thick, juicy bite” that mirror its regular versions. The products, called Oscar Mayer “NotHotDogs” ($5.99) and “NotSausage” ($7.99), roll out nationwide later this year.

It’s a continuation of its partnership with the plant-based foods company NotCo. to expand Kraft’s plant-based portfolio in response to the growing hunger among American consumers for “better-for-you” products. In the past year, the company rolled out a vegan boxed Mac & Cheese, mayonnaise and vegan cheese slices.

The brand is doubling down on a segment, however, that isn’t as popular as plant-based dairy: Plant-based meat sales fell 9% in 2023 to nearly $886 million, according to figures provided to CNN from research firm NIQ.

Sinking sales have sparked troubles for pioneers, like Beyond Meat (BYND), which also has sausage products. The once-trendy plant-based meat company has faced falling demand and ballooning costs in recent years.

Beyond Meat last week said it was going to cut costs and transition to a “leaner operating structure” during its earnings report, however, it didn’t specify whether that might include additional layoffs following a 19% workforce cut late last year.

Despite the setbacks, there’s still a lot of “consumer interest in healthier and more sustainable food options” indicating opportunities for growth, Sherry Frey, vice president of Total Wellness at NIQ, told CNN.

Frey said that recent innovations in plant-based meat products, such as improving taste, texture and expanding options (i.e. including more protein per serving), “could entice new and lapsed consumers back to the category.”

Taste, in particular, is a pain-point that Oscar Mayer acknowledged in its press release, writing that other plant-based hot dogs and sausage remain “underdeveloped and under-consumed” because of consumers’ “disappointment in existing offerings’ taste and texture.”

It’s an issue that even Beyond Meat is still figuring out and hopes that a new version of its products, called “Beyond IV,” will deliver “superior health benefits and taste,” the company previously stated.

Besides taste, plant-based meat “faces challenges like price competitiveness, distribution issues and consumer skepticism,” Frey said.

Changes at Kraft

The Kraft Heinz Company (KHC) has also found itself at a crossroads amid changing consumer tastes for processed foods. It has been examining and revamping its portfolio in an effort to increase net sales by $2 billion through 2027.

In particular, the Kraft brand recently rolled out a makeover of its regular Kraft Singles cheese that emphasizes its lack of artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. The new packaging also includes a new graphic that says, “made with real dairy.”

In 2022, Kraft tweaked the name of its boxed macaroni and cheese to “Kraft Mac & Cheese,” which is “meant to reflect the way fans organically talk about the brand,” and the packaging also got a makeover with a refreshed logo and a single-hue blue box color that “amplifies the brand’s most recognizable asset — the noodle smile.” A new advertising campaign is planned for this year, too.

Kraft remains bullish about its NotCo. products, although specific financials about the collaboration weren’t revealed in its most recent earnings report. In Wednesday’s press release, the company said it plans to add even more plant-based products and expand internationally.

NIQ’s Frey said that since eaters are becoming more health-conscious and environmentally aware, plant-based meat and dairy “could likely become an increasingly popular choice for individuals seeking sustainable and ethical food options.”

Related: Oscar Mayer is now selling frozen wiener pops

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Business + Economy

A man sits at an office computer - Companies are experimenting with a four day workweek...

CNN

4-day workweeks may be around the corner. A third of America’s companies are exploring them

Nearly one-third of large US companies are exploring new work schedule shifts such as a four-day workweek, according to a survey by KPMG.

54 minutes ago

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on student loan debt at Madison College on April 8 in Madison,...

Katie Lobosco, CNN

Biden to forgive $7.4 billion more in student loan debt for 277,000 borrowers

President Joe Biden announced another round of student loan forgiveness helping around 277,000 borrowers.

5 hours ago

The Instagram logo is seen on a cell phone in Boston, USA, Oct. 14, 2022....

KELVIN CHAN AP Business Writer

Instagram begins blurring nudity in messages to protect teens and fight sexual extortion

Instagram says it's deploying new tools to protect young people, including a feature that will automatically blur nudity in direct messages.

7 hours ago

International flights could start flying out of the Provo Airport within the next couple of years, ...

Mariah Maynes

American Airlines announces service to Provo Airport

American Airlines announced that it will begin offering nonstop service to and from Provo airport this fall. 

22 hours ago

Mortgage rates soar to their highest level in 21 years...

Peter Johnston

Homebuyers pause as mortgage rates jump

Mortgage rates have jumped to their highest level since Thanksgiving. Potential homebuyers are pressing pause on applying for new home loans.

22 hours ago

Members of the International Olympic Committee toured downtown Salt Lake via TRAX during their visi...

Don Brinkerhoff

Olympic committee members ride TRAX as part of Utah tour

Members of the International Olympic Committee got a tour of Salt Lake, including parts of its public transport system.

24 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Live Nation Concerts

Artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

This is Oscar Mayer’s newest hot dog