All manner of food from groceries to takeout were at the mercy of inflation in 2022, but a few items made it through the year without increasing in price. Sometimes all it takes is a strong will and the possibility of public outrage to keep the price of a beloved food item steady. In December, people often like to look back on the year and see growth. This is the one time that we’re happy to reflect and see that nothing has changed.
A Costco hot dog costs $1.50, along with a drink, and it has remained so since 1985. As the crowning jewel of Costco’s food court offerings, the hot dog is a sizable link but we all came very close to losing this gem in 2022. Costco raised the price of its other well-known staples such as the chicken bake, which went from $2.99 to $3.99 and soda which went up 10 cents to 69 cents.
These price hikes in response to inflation has the public extremely concerned that their Costco dog would no longer be the reliable deal they’ve always known it to be. Thankfully, Costco leadership assured us all that would never ever happen. In May, Costco Senior Vice President Robert Nelson let the public know there were no plans to raise the price of the hot dog. Plus, no one will ever forget the iconic words of Costco founder Jim Senegal: “If you raise the [price of the] effing hot dog, I will kill you. Figure it out.”
As far as warehouse membership hot dogs go, Costco may be the most famous, but Sam’s Club refused to keep coming in second place this year. In 2022, Sam’s Club decided it was time to make a statement.
After keeping its hot dog meal priced at $1.50 (the same as Costco) for almost as many years as its rival, the warehouse chain decided to one-up the competition by reducing the price down to $1.38. Plus, unlike Costco, non-members are welcome to eat at Sam’s Club’s cafe.
“We’re always proud when we can add value to the membership, especially when it’s with a member favorite like our café hotdog combo,” Sam’s Club told The Takeout. “This is the type of activity that fuels our business and allows us to continually delight members.”
If every drink brand could figure out the magic that AriZona Iced Tea has, then we’d all be better off. The brand has kept the price of its 23-ounce cans steady for 30 years. Just 99 cents will get quench your thirst and keep your wallet as happy as you were when you first discovered the drink in your local gas station.
“I don’t want to do what the bread guys and the gas guys and everybody else are doing,” said Don Vultaggio, founder of the beverage company, told the Los Angeles Times in reference to inflation-driven price hikes. “Consumers don’t need another price increase from a guy like me.”
The key to avoiding the price hikes of “the other guys” isn’t in the marketing or production process either. Founder Vultaggio credits the design of the cans serving as the brand’s best advertising avenue. The large cans draw in attention and remind consumers of the brand’s existence and affordability without jamming over-the-top advertising campaigns down our throats.
With dine out and grocery trips steadily becoming more expensive in 2022, it felt as though there was no way to win on a budget. We salute these trusty items for staying cheap when we needed them most.