The internet shook its fist in a collective fit of rage after Costco announced that it’s booting the beloved Polish dog from its food court menu. The move is part of a broader Costco food court effort to swap in (somewhat) healthier items for fat-and-carb laden junk—an effort that might be equally attributable to public health sensibilities and outreach to younger customers who crave a wider variety of options.
But the Polish dog isn’t, as far as Costco food menu items go, that big of an offender compared with other offerings. In fact, it’s not even close.
Let’s crunch the numbers. According to MyFitnessPal’s database of the Costco food court’s nutritional breakdown, the Polish dog with a bun is 570 calories. That includes 33 grams of fat (a pretty stunning figure since it accounts for 51% of daily recommended fat based on a 2,000 calorie diet), 12 grams of saturated fat (60% of recommended daily totals), and a staggering 1,750 milligrams of sodium, or nearly 75% of what most people should be taking in per day. This excludes calories added by sugary condiments like ketchup and relish, and it does also contain 24 grams of protein.
But compare that with other mainstays of the Costco menu. The chicken bake (this reporter’s personal favorite) has 770 calories per serving, including 230 calories from fat, nine grams of saturated fat, and 2,310 milligrams of sodium (no, that’s not a typo). A slice of good, old-fashioned cheese pizza contains 760 calories and 30 grams of fat, overwhelmingly saturated. And one of the most popular combos, the all beef hot dog plus fountain soda, which Costco is stressing isn’t going anywhere? A cool 960 calories, 32 grams of fat, 1,550 milligrams of sodium, and 24 grams of protein.
Costco’s move toward healthier food options like salads, plant-based proteins, and acai bowls is, from a pure public health perspective, an encouraging move, consumer outrage aside. But the company seems to be playing favorites with its junk food.
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