The Kosher Hot Dog Brand Costco Used To Sell In Its Food Court

There are very few guarantees in life, but when it comes to warehouse superstore chain Costco, there is one thing that's just about for certain — that the popular hot dog and soda combo available in the food court will remain at the affordable price of $1.50, even as inflation is causing many other costs to rise in recent years. It's now quite a well-known story, especially among Costco fans and shoppers, that the company's co-founder Jim Sinegal once threatened to kill a former CEO if he ever raised the price of the hot dog combo.

Despite the hot dogs being a loss leader for Costco, they have made some changes to try to keep expenses under control while still not raising prices for the hot dog combo. The main change? Switching vendors. From the very beginning, when hot dogs were first sold at a cart outside its very second warehouse in Portland and for the next decade-plus, Costco sold Hebrew National kosher hot dogs in its food courts. That all changed in 2009. 

Taking things in house

Hebrew National, which ranks in the middle of our list of grocery store hot dog brands, is a popular hot dog brand made from 100% kosher beef. Julia Child was deeply enamored with the Costco hot dogs when they still used that variety. Unfortunately, the kosher hot dog market started getting smaller, and several companies were forced to close. In the aftermath of the market downsizing, Hebrew National started raising its prices. That's when Costco decided to take its hot dog production in house and now sells Kirkland brand hot dogs, which are made at its own meat factories. The Kirkland hot dogs, while made with 100% beef, are no longer kosher.

Fans were upset at the change, and there was even a petition that went around after the switch to bring back the Hebrew National hot dogs, noting that they were willing to pay more. Costco never made the switch back, but the new hot dogs are 10% bigger than the original ones. They also increased the soda size from 12 ounces to 20 ounces, with free refills, all while still keeping the combo price at $1.50.