For as long as hot dogs have been an American cookout staple, the question of what is in this mysterious meat product has always lingered. Does anyone know what REALLY goes into a hot dog? According to a recent survey done by Applegate, an astounding 43 percent of Americans aren’t sure what hot dogs are made of and don’t care to find out!
This survey also revealed that for more than one-third of Americans, hot dogs are something to be avoided at all costs because they are believed to be “made with low quality meat or … made with artificial ingredients and chemicals.” Those Americans are absolutely right — hot dogs are both gross and bad for you!
After all, the bizarre product is made with “mechanically separated meat,” which the U.S. Department of Agriculture defines as “a paste-like and batter-like meat product produced by forcing bones with attached edible meat under high pressure through a sieve or similar device.” As if the mental image of animal bones being violently pushed through a machine wasn’t bad enough, get this: over the years, consumers have found a revolting variety of inedible objects in their hot dogs, including glass shards, pieces of metal and plastic, bone fragments, and even rodents. Ew!
But that’s not the only horrifying part of hot dogs. Another concerning issue is that an extensive list of potentially dangerous chemicals are used to make and preserve hot dogs as well as many other types of processed meat. Chlorine, ammonia, and carbon monoxide are just a few of the nastiest ones.
Unsurprisingly, more and more Americans are becoming fed up with the health and environmental hazards associated with hot dogs and other meat products, leading them to switch over to a plant-based diet. Millennials, in particular, are ditching meat for healthier, environmentally-friendlier, more humane plant-based alternatives. More so than any other consumer group in America, those aged 18-34 are proving that they realize the massive environmental and social impact of what they choose to fuel their bodies with. With one in 10 millennials following a vegan or vegetarian diet and 60 percent consuming meat alternatives made from plants, this group is clearly driving for a major change in the American food system.
To keep up with what consumers desire, Applegate has implied that they may introduce their own plant-based proteins to the market in the near future. In an interview with Food Navigator, Gina Asoudegan, Applegate’s senior director of mission, stated, “I think Applegate might be looking at itself not only as a meat company like we have for 30 years, but as a food company.” She elaborated, “Maybe as a company that sells protein and protein comes in many forms, not only animal protein obviously … Look at what we see with the rise in all plant protein and companies like Beyond Meat. I mean, I think that’s really indicative of our future.”
We definitely like the idea of Applegate following in the footsteps of many other American food companies and beginning to offer plant-based meat alternatives that don’t make us wonder what the heck we’re eating!
If you’re looking for a plant-based sausage fix for your long weekend, keep an eye out for the Beyond Sausage in your grocery stores!
To learn more about the environmental impact of your food choices, check out the Eat For The Planet book!