The Feed

The Growing Popularity of Competitive Eating

From its humble pie-eating-contest roots in county fairs to the frankfurter mecca of Nathan’s Famous in Coney Island, N.Y., the slice of Americana now known as the sport of Major League Eating (MLE) has grown into a $10 million industry.

Regulated by the International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE) since 1997, MLE sanctions between 75 and 100 events annually in eight countries, challenging gurgitators (as the competitors are known) to feast on a host of foods that would extend beyond the grocery list needed to make Thanksgiving breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. (It’s a wonder “Thanksgiving Dinner” isn’t just added as a new competition, since turkey, turducken, cranberry sauce, green beans, sweet potato casserole and pumpkin pie records are all on the books.)


The Latest