It’s no secret that Costco’s signature label, Kirkland, sells products manufactured by third parties for a better price, often up to 20% less. Members can usually see which company produced a product by reading the label, but not always.
There seems to be a bit of mystery and speculation surrounding some products' origins, and Costco closely guards their manufacturers’ identities. Though there are widespread rumors, some supplier information has come to light over the years and was confirmed by the giant warehouse club.
Vodka lovers who shop at Costco were excited to hear rumors that premium vodka manufacturer, Gray Goose, also made the store’s Kirkland Signature Label vodka. Alas, this theory has proven to be nothing more than a rumor. The good news is, in blind taste tests, the Kirkland Signature vodka has defeated Gray Goose several times; plus, it’s about a third of the cost.
Bottled water-lovers know that taste can differ greatly between brands. Take a closer look at the label on Kirkland Signature Purified Bottled Waters and you’ll likely recognize the bottler. Niagara Bottling is one of the largest water suppliers for private labels and well-known big box stores. If you’re a fan of the Niagara line of waters, chances are, you’ll taste no difference in those bottled with the Costco label.
Costco shoppers are likely familiar with the store’s rotisserie chicken, a three-pound roasted-to-a-golden-brown store favorite. Costco established its own chicken processing facility in Nebraska and created Lincoln Premium Poultry in 2016 to manage its new facility.
Unfortunately, Lincoln has come under fire since opening for both its negative environmental impact on the Omaha region and for animal cruelty due to the treatment of the chickens at the facility.
It’s a fact. In 2016, the CEO of Costco confirmed that Duracell is the manufacturer of Kirkland Signature Batteries. Buying the store’s signature version can save you some money, and in this case, you won’t be sacrificing quality for price. Consumer groups say a quality battery is crucial to the life of your electronics and word is, the Kirkland brand brings that. Some cheaper generic brands provide significantly less stored energy which leads to shorter battery life.
Costco pays another company to exclusively produce the Kirkland brand of pet food, but the company hasn’t publicly talked about who makes it for them. Sleuthing customers point out that the FDA issued a recall in 2012 for both Diamond Naturals and the Kirkland brand dog foods. Later, a legal suit named both companies in a lawsuit claiming pets became ill with Salmonella food poisoning after eating their pet foods. The lawsuit states the Kirkland brand was manufactured at Diamond Natural’s plant in South Carolina. In more recent years, some types of Kirkland dog foods have come under fire for improper labeling.
Persil has only been available in the U.S. since mid-2015 and a few years later in Canada, but it quickly developed a solid reputation and made the list of top-selling laundry detergents. Public forums soon debated theories about Costco’s Kirkland Signature Ultra-Clean laundry detergent’s manufacturer. Many ascertained it was made by the same company that makes Persil, the German consumer goods manufacturer, Henkle. However, neither company has verified these rumors to be true.
While the gasoline sold at Costco’s pumps isn’t from Mobil, it is a high-quality, top-tier standard gasoline, say fuel experts, and it passes governmental additive requirements in both the U.S. and Canada. Although gas prices fluctuate, Costco is generally able to keep its prices lower than other gas stations and guarantees the quality of its fuel.
The proof is on the packaging. One of the most recognized coffee brands in the world, Starbucks, custom roasts some — but not all — of Costco’s coffee flavors. No matter how serious your love of coffee is, this means you can save money without having to resign yourself to a lackluster, sub-par cup of joe. To enjoy the savings, look for Espresso Blend Dark Roast, House Blend Medium, and Decaf House Blend Medium packaged under the Kirkland Signature label.
Chocolate connoisseurs and candy fans alike have long touted the splendor of Costco’s private label milk chocolate. Costco reported back in 2013 that the company teamed up with the Blommer Chocolate Company to sustainably source cocoa from the Ivory Coast in West Africa to produce their much-loved confectionery. By taking this route, Costco ensures high-quality chocolate, but it’s also helping local workers receive fair wages and providing funds for local services, like education.
Parents know that quality is everything when it comes to a diaper. Some tried-and-true brands have earned their places among top-rated versions. A long-standing rumor is that Kimberly Clark, the maker of Huggies, manufactures Kirkland Signature diapers as well. According to a 2017 news interview, it’s true. Costco finally enticed Kimberly Clark to produce the Kirkland premium diaper. In exchange, Costco agreed to allow only one other branded diaper to be sold on its shelves: Huggies.