Cheese Stuffed Dogs - © 2024 - Oscar Mayer

Oscar Mayer Pushes Hot Dog Envelope With ‘Stuffed’ Franks

It’s the first real innovation in Hot Dogs for ages. Not just a new type of meat. Not just an addition of spice or smoke. Oscar Mayer (OM) is stuffing franks with cheese and peppers! And it’s just in time to make the summer of ’24 more interesting!

Stuffed Dogs - © 2024 - Oscar Mayer

What a great idea. And I have to ask myself why they didn’t think of it before? That goes for the whole frankfurter industry, which seems to have missed a mammoth opportunity!

What they’ve got…

OM has rolled out three new ‘flavours of ‘Stuffed Dogs’: Cheese, Chili Cheese and Jalapeño. The Chili Cheese and Jalapeño dogs are 8 to a package, and the Cheese come in the ‘standard’ ten pack. I have no idea why there’s a difference. Unless OM incurs a higher manufacturing cost for the Chili Cheese and Jalapeño varieties, and wanted to sell all three flavours at the same price – (US)$4.99. Anyway…

One thing I do know is, the new Stuffed Dogs are chubby little critters. They’ll take longer to cook through, whether on the grill or in a pot of boiling water. And they’ll challenge the capacity of your standard Hot Dog bun to accommodate them. Just take a look at the package-front photos, above…

A bold strategy

Oscar Mayer is one of a few major hot dog makers who, together, have a stranglehold on the North American market. And they were looking for a way to increase their share. Clearly, a new initiative that would open new market niches was called for.

About the same time, last year, feedback from restaurant and commercial customers, along with social media and survey results showed a desire among dog fans for a spicier bite.

With that goal in mind, OM’s test kitchen chefs dared to go boldly where no sausage maker had gone before. And discovered the Stuffed Dog.

A stunning innovation

It’s a truly stunning innovation. First of all… Who even dreamed there was still unmapped territory in Hot Dog Land? Like so many other great discoveries in food science, it was there all along, but nobody had bothered to explore it.

Like so many great inventions, it’s elegant and simple: Dressing a hot dog from the inside out!

The idea of stuffing a hot dog also pushes the technological envelope. Fortunately for the OM researchers, hot dogs have always been formed via an extrusion process. And advanced food extrusion methods, which expedite the ‘stuffing’ process, were perfected long ago.

Mammoth market

The US National Hot Dog Council provides some fascinating facts:

  • In 2023, 896 million lb. / 407 million kg of hot dogs were sold at US retail stores. That number represents $2.99 billion in retail sales.
  • Ten percent of annual retail hot dog sales occur during July, which is designated as National Hot Dog Month.
  • During Hot Dog Season, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Americans typically consume 7 billion hot dogs.
  • That’s 818 hot dogs consumed every second during that period.
  • More than 19.4 million hot dogs were sold in baseball parks last year.
  • Not surprisingly, all top ten hot dog consuming cities host MLB teams.
  • The Cheese Dog ‘sector’ has outpaced the overall Hot Dog market in growth in recent years.

That last point may also explain why the OM chefs leaned so heavily on Cheese for their new concept.

My take

The hot dog is an undisputed and immutable fact of the North American culinary experience. To see a truly new and innovative creation like the Stuffed Dog hit the market is both a joy and thrill for a crusty old food scene observer like me…

~ Maggie J.

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