Hot Dog Horror Show? Survey Finds Americans Are Scared to Find Out

Applegate reveals consumers’ “frank” concerns and why they should be eating The Cleaner Wiener™ this summer

Hot Dog Horror Show? Survey Finds Americans Are Scared to Find OutThe question that instills fear in the hearts of four in 10 Americans: What’s in your hot dog? As Americans get ready to fire up their grills this summer, Applegate, the nation’s leading natural and organic meat company, announces new survey findings that illustrate just how petrified people truly are about ingredients in a favorite grilling staple, hot dogs.

The survey kicks off Applegate’s season of ‘The Cleaner Wiener,’ promoting Applegate Naturals® Beef Hot Dog and Applegate Organics® The Great Organic Uncured Beef Hot Dog™, which are Non-GMO Project Verified and made with humanely raised, 100% grass-fed beef. Key survey takeaways included:


  • Fear factor: a whopping 43% of Americans say they are scared to find out what goes into their hot dogs.
  • Science or sausage?: Over a third of Americans avoid eating hot dogs because they believe they are  made with low quality meat or are made with artificial ingredients and chemicals.
  • Keep it short: Americans are six times more likely to prefer a hot dog made with a simple, short list of ingredients.
  • Less is more: 70% of Americans agree that when looking at a hot dog ingredient label, the fewer ingredients, the better.
  • Hold the antibiotics: A majority of Americans agree that it’s important that their hot dogs are made from livestock never given antibiotics or hormones (56%), and nearly half (48%) agree that it’s important their hot dogs are made from 100% grass-fed beef.
  • Millennials not hot for dogs: Americans ages 18-34 avoid hot dogs more than any other age group; 24% say they never buy hot dogs.
  • Women more choosy: Nearly 50% of females are scared to find out what is in their hot dogs, compared to just 37% of males.
  • Top that: 61% of Americans list mustard as their favorite hot dog topping.

“Hot dogs are the poster child for scary ingredients,” said Nicole Glenn, Applegate vice president of marketing.  “But there’s nothing to fear in The Cleaner Wiener – it’s made with simple ingredients that don’t require a food science degree to spell or pronounce: grass-fed beef, salt, water and spices.”

The survey that Applegate conducted interviewed more than 1,000 adults ages 18 and over to see how they really felt about hot dogs from their ingredients to consumption habits to favorite toppings and everything in between.

Applegate offers hot dogs in beef, turkey, chicken, and beef & pork varieties that are sold at retailers nationwide such as Whole Foods, Amazon and Target. For more information and to download a coupon, visit

About Applegate
Founded in 1987, Applegate produces high-quality natural and organic hot dogs, bacon, sausages, deli meats, cheese and frozen products. Our products are made without GMO ingredients, and we source from farms where animals are treated with care and respect and are allowed to grow at their natural rate, all part of our mission – Changing The Meat We Eat®. Natural can mean many things, but to Applegate natural means our food is:

  • From animals raised humanely without antibiotics, hormones or growth promotants
  • From animals fed a vegetarian or pasture-centered diet (our beef is 100 percent grass-fed)
  • Free of added chemical nitrites, nitrates or phosphates
  • Free of artificial ingredients or preservatives


Applegate became a stand-alone subsidiary of Hormel Foods in July 2015. For more information about our products, visit or talk with us on or


About the Survey
Survey was conducted by YouGov Plc using an online interview administered to 1089 adults (aged 18+) between April 30th – May 1st 2018.  Margin of error, +\- 3.1%