By David Z. Morris
July 7, 2018

Costco is revamping portions of its food court menu, replacing some less healthy items — such as barbecue and chocolate frozen yogurt — with vegetarian salads and acai bowls. Though the changes are ongoing, the most notable victim so far might be the Polish hot dog, now officially discontinued.

That should not, however, be confused with perhaps Costco’s most beloved food deal, an all-beef hot dog sold with a fountain drink for $1.50. The Seattle Times this week spoke to Costco CFO Richard Galanti, who confirmed that while the polish hot dog is gone, the all-beef mainstay isn’t going anywhere. The hot dog combo was first introduced in the mid-1980s, shortly after the bulk-buying store opened. Its price hasn’t changed since, making it a favorite bargain among Costco shoppers.

Other recent changes to the food court menu seem aimed at keeping Costco current with trends toward healthier eating. One Costco store in San Luis Obispo, Calif., has dropped both chocolate frozen yogurt and a berry frozen yogurt sundae, while adding a desert featuring acai berry swirl and fresh fruit and granola. Costco says the acai dish will be available in all Costco stores.

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Another new dish at Costco is an al pastor salad with plant-based protein. A barbecue brisket sandwich and chili have reportedly been removed from at least some stores.

Despite broad trends toward healthier eating, much of the online response to Costco’s menu changes has trended toward skepticism — and more than a little confusion between the two different hot dogs.

Distress at the changes may reflect the fact that while Costco’s customers tend to be relatively affluent, they also tend to be older and more suburban. That might make them less eager for change, and suggests challenges ahead as Costco attempts to increase its appeal to younger shoppers while holding on to its hot dog-loving core constituency.

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