It’s no secret that life is more expensive than it’s ever been. Gas costs nearly $7 a gallon. The average house in America costs roughly $375,000. Even our favorite goods are bumping up their prices.
But one company is refusing to give in to inflation demands, even if it means making less money. Don Vultaggio, founder and chairman of AriZona Iced Tea, spoke with the L.A. Times about why he will never raise the price of his beloved product above $1.
“I’m committed to that 99 cent price — when things go against you, you tighten your belt,” Vultaggio explained. “I don’t want to do what the bread guys and the gas guys and everybody else are doing. Consumers don’t need another price increase from a guy like me.”
Can we get an amen? The “bread guys and guys guys” have been steadily increasing their prices for years, and it’s been hard to keep up with raising prices while wages have slowly grown. Last year, the national average of wages grew 4.5%, while inflation grew 7%. This meant that even someone’s small raise wasn’t enough to cancel out the rising cost of, well, everything. Meanwhile, many corporations are clocking record profits all while blaming inflation for ballooning prices. In 2021, corporate profit increased 37 percent year over year, the highest since the Fed started tracking such profits in 1948. And they’ve been able to pass off rising prices to consumers, who saw prices jump nearly eight percent year over year, the highest jump since 1982.
But AriZona Iced Tea isn’t playing the game, even if they’re making less money due to inflation. The L.A. Times detailed that the products that go into each can of tea have all risen from inflation — aluminum, high fructose corn syrup, even shipping costs. The company has likely lost millions for refusing to raise their prices.
But Vultaggio still refuses to budge, because he says he knows what it’s like to budget for the fun parts of life. “I started out as a blue collar guy, and budgeting your finances on a daily basis was a part of life,” he said.
So while the world around us constantly changes and gets more expensive, at least we’ll always have a 99 cent AriZona Iced tea.