Costco Brand Secrets Every Shopper Should Know

Exterior view of a Costco Wholesale store sign, featuring large red letters for "Costco" and blue letters for "Wholesale," against a beige building facade.

You may know Costco as the land of bulk bargains and plentiful food samples. But did you know that when you purchase Costco brand products, you often get a household name product at a discount?

The information provided on this site is based on my personal experience living with alpha-gal syndrome. I consistently cite and link to expert sources, but nothing published on this site should be perceived as medical advice.

Alpha-gal sensitivities vary by person. You should understand your dietary restrictions, making any adjustments needed, and directing any questions to your physician.

As an alpha gal, finding safe, delicious, and affordable food is a top priority. And that’s why I absolutely love shopping at Costco! Not only can I find a wide range of organic seasonal fruits and vegetables, but Costco also has many other alpha-gal friendly ingredients. From quinoa and steel-cut oats to organic chicken and fresh fish, hardly a day goes by without my family enjoying healthy ingredients purchased at Costco.

One thing that sets Costco apart from other retailers is its private-label brand, Kirkland Signature. Launched in 1995, Kirkland Signature products offer quality that rivals national brands at a fraction of the price. According to CNN, Costco generates nearly one-third of its sales from Kirkland Signature products. From pantry staples to household items, Kirkland Signature is a name I trust to provide both quality and value.

Collage of Costco products: Kirkland Signature Albacore Tuna, Kirkland Signature Olive Oil, Kirkland Signature Foodservice Foil, and Kirkland Signature Pacific Bold Organic Coffee.


In This Article

Is Kirkland a Costco brand?

Yes! The Kirkland Signature name is inspired by Costco’s original headquarters in Washington State. It has become synonymous with high-quality, affordable household staples that make life easier and cheaper for everyone, especially those of us with special dietary needs.

People at the membership counter of a Costco store, with large red "Membership" sign above listing different membership types and their prices.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Can You Shop at Costco Without a Membership?

While a membership is the best way to experience all Costco offers—including fantastic savings on everything from organic produce to diapers to gasoline—it’s possible to shop at Costco without one through Instacart. However, be prepared to pay a bit more for the convenience of this online shopping service. Plus, I’ve found that the savings over grocery stores, retail stores, and gas stations mean that the membership quickly pays for itself.

  • Stretch your budget by shopping online and in warehouses
  • Each membership includes two cards
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee
Start Saving with Costco

Well-Known Names Behind the Costco Brand

It’s not like Costco hides these partnerships from shoppers. Just look at the signage at your local Costco store or even on the Costco website. There, you’ll discover some of the big brands that Costco has partnered with. 

This is good information to have. Why? Because savvy shoppers know creative ways to save money, such as shopping at thrift stores. Another popular money saver is buying store brands. With prices on the rise, this is one reason companies with private label products and the stores that sell them have reported double-digit growth for store brands

What’s so special about big names making products for Costco? Basically, you can buy the equivalent of brand-name items but at generic prices. And they’re worth it! When Nicole Weatherford of Everyday Thrifty compared Costco vs Walmart vs Aldi, Costco came out on top. So, the next time you’re in Costco, look for these Kirkland brand products and pat yourself on the back for knowing which company really made them.

Shelves in a warehouse store stocked with various brands and sizes of diapers including Huggies and Kirkland.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Costco Kirkland Diapers

The Motley Fool cites a 2017 Wall Street Journal article about the manufacturer behind Costco Kirkland diapers. And it is Kimberly-Clark, which makes Huggies diapers, among other consumer goods.

In case you didn’t know, Costco also sells Huggies. Not surprisingly, though, the Kirkland brand is cheaper by about two cents per diaper. That might not seem like a lot of money. However, when you’re buying a pack of 200+ diapers in a single trip, that can add up. 

Parents Magazine says that a baby can go through up to 3,000 diapers in their first year. By my math, that’s a $60 savings—enough to cover the cost of your annual Costco membership! Plus, you can enjoy food samples while you shop, provided you double-check all of the ingredients to be sure they’re alpha-gal friendly.

Boxes of Kirkland Signature fragrance-free baby wipes arranged in a store display. Each box contains 900 wipes and is labeled as hypoallergenic and safe for sensitive skin.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Kirkland Signature Wipes

“My children have all had super sensitive skin as babies,” says Siobhan Borland of Mimosas and Motherhood, “and the Kirkland sensitive baby wipes are one of the few options that don’t irritate their skin.”

She wasn’t aware that another company, called Nice Pac, makes these wipes. That company also makes Costco flushable wipes and cleaning wipes. They’re also responsible for Nice N Clean wipes and Grime Boss (sold at Home Depot). Plus, they’ve received awards for their work with Costco. 

Boxes of Kirkland Signature Albacore Solid White Tuna in water, each containing 8 cans of 198 grams, displayed on a store shelf. The label highlights 42 grams of protein per serving.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Costco Tuna is Bumblebee

Because it’s an alpha-gal friendly animal protein, we stock our pantry with canned tuna. It’s easy to grab a can to make tuna sandwiches, flake on top of a Caesar salad, or whip up a tuna casserole on busy nights. According to CNN, Costco started selling Kirkland brand tuna from Bumblebee back in 2003, and they continue to sell it today.

Boxes of Kirkland Signature Pacific Bold organic dark roast coffee pods are stacked on a store shelf. Each box contains 120 K-Cup pods.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Keurig Sells K-Cup Pods Under the Costco Brand

You can buy Kirkland Signature K-Cup pods in bulk and feel confident that they’ll work in your Keurig machine. That’s because Keurig is Costco’s partner in making these coffee pods. That’s why it says, right on the box, “Keurig Genuine K Cup Pods.”

Sage Advice: Although Starbucks no longer roasts Kirkland Signature coffee beans, and I’m not sure what national brand is behind its medium roast ground Arabica coffee beans, they’re still a deliciously affordable option. And when you use the coffee in a reusable Keurig filter, you put less single-use plastic in landfills.

Shelves in a warehouse store stocked with various colorful bags of pet food, including blue, red, and yellow packaging. Pallets hold the pet food bags, and price tags are visible above each stack.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Costco Brand Dog Food

One of the easiest ways to unveil the manufacturer of a private brand is when products are recalled. For example, in 2012, Diamond Pet Foods recalled some of its dog food, including Costco’s Kirkland Signature. Before the recall, shoppers may not have known which company makes the Costco Kirkland dog food. Now they do!

Stearns and Foster Manufactures Costco Mattresses

This article covers how often you should replace your mattress. In it, the author suggests name-brand mattresses you can buy at Costco, including Casper and Tempurpedic. Costco sells them under their original brand names. However, there is also a Kirkland Signature mattress to consider. Stearns and Fosters is the manufacturer.

Packages of Kirkland Signature Ancient Grains Probiotic Granola are displayed in a store shelf. The granola is labeled as organic and includes ingredients like Khorasan wheat, spelt, almonds, and quinoa.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Kirkland Organic Granola

When I don’t feel like making granola, I grab a bag at Costco. I love using it to make protein-packed Greek yogurt bowls at breakfast or to add some crunch to a banana topped with homemade peanut butter for an afternoon snack. Nature’s Path makes Costco’s ancient grains probiotic granola with quinoa, amaranth, and other healthy ingredients. You may have seen the brand in places other than Costco, such as Target, Walmart, or Thrive Market.

A box of Kirkland Signature Premium Quality Reynolds Foodservice Aluminum Foil containing 500 sheets, size 30.48 cm x 27.3 cm (12 in x 10¾ in).
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Reynolds Foil

When you pick up one of those mega-boxes of Kirkland aluminum foil at Costco, take a closer look at the box. Just like the Kirkland coffee and organic granola, it says Reynolds right on the label.

Two boxes of Kirkland Culinary Parchment Paper are stacked on a shelf. The packaging highlights its use for baking, cooking, and roasting. Each roll measures 19 meters or 205 square feet.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

PaperChef Parchment Paper

Another baking necessity is the Kirkland parchment paper. We use it to line everything from baking sheets to griddles to make clean-up fast and easy. Denver-based PaperChef is the company behind this Costco brand product.

Bottles of Kirkland Signature Extra Virgin Olive Oil Toscano P.G.I. on display in a store shelf, arranged in rows within a cardboard box. The label features a scenic landscape image.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Olive Oil

Our household embraces olive oil as if we have Mediterranean roots. Although I can once again consume dairy in moderation, I still tend to substitute extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) for butter in everything from scrambled eggs to baked goods. And while I can’t drop a fancy national brand name that’s behind the 2-liter bottle of Kirkland’s Signature EVOO, Chowhound reports that Costco’s olive oil is verified by Bureau Veritas, an agency specializing in the testing, inspecting, and certifying products.

Jelly Belly Jelly Beans

When you live with alpha-gal syndrome, you know that many jelly bean brands contain gelatin. Because they’re typically made from bovine or porcine sources, they’re risky to eat on an alpha-gal diet. But you don’t have to worry about the Costco brand of jelly beans! As it turns out, the Kirkland brand is actually from Jelly Belly. Its jelly beans are kosher certified and do not contain gelatin.

Stacks of Kirkland Signature Chinet "The Big Red Cup" packs, each containing 240 red plastic cups, displayed on a store shelf.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Big Red Cups by Chinet

While Toby Keith’s iconic song reminds us that a red Solo cup is the best receptacle for barbecues, tailgates, fairs, and festivals, you won’t find them at Costco. However, you can purchase Big Red Cups from Kirkland Signature for your gatherings. And right under the Kirkland Signature logo, it says Chinet, the company that makes the cups on Costco’s behalf.

Kirkland Vodka is as Smooth as Grey Goose

If you’ve got a Costco-sized stack of Big Red Cups, you may want to fill it with an adult beverage. If so, check out Kirkland Signature French Vodka. Not only has it long been rumored that the bottles of vodka sold by Costco are Grey Goose, but it is smoother than Kirkland’s American vodka. While I couldn’t confirm or deny these rumors, both the brand-name and store-label spirits are vegan-friendly, according to Barnivore, which is extra good news for alpha-gals.

Shelves stocked with Kirkland and Ocean Spray cranberry juice blend bottles in a store.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice

If you want to make a vodka cranberry cocktail in your red plastic cup, it’s no secret that Ocean Spray makes the Kirkland brand cranberry juice. After all, it’s printed right on the label! However, if you are a highly sensitive alpha gal, please know that some of the companies Ocean Spray uses to source its sugar use bone char.

Warehouse shelf stocked with Kirkland Signature car batteries and other battery products, organized into sections.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Batteries by Duracell

From powering remote controls to keeping flashlights ready for emergencies, batteries are a staple in every household. Like Kirkland diapers sold right next to Huggies, you can find Kirkland Signature AA batteries sold right next to their white-label manufacturer, Duracell.

Warehouse shelves stocked with boxes of "all" brand and "Kirkland Signature UltraClean" laundry detergent. The "Kirkland" boxes on the right are partially empty.
Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Costco Brand Laundry Products

There are rumors that Kirkland Signature laundry detergent is Persil laundry detergent. That’s yet unconfirmed. Others, like Kim Rowley Lohrberg of the SavingK blog, have hypothesized that Costco dryer sheets were the same as Bounce. Unfortunately, there is no evidence to support that either. 

Plus, the article “The Secret Weapon Behind Costco’s Success” explains why Procter and Gamble (which makes Bounce dryer sheets, among other products) does not make Costco’s store-brand diapers. It seems that P&G turned down Costco’s request long ago because it is not in the business of doing private-label deals. So Kimberly-Clark got the gig instead.

Check Out Costco

As more and more people realize the affordable quality of the Costco brand, the company is growing. Costco warehouses continue to open across the country and around the world, including places like Maine and the United Kingdom. As a savvy shopper, you now have the inside scoop on some of the well-known brands behind the Kirkland Signature label. So, next time you’re wandering the aisles of Costco, fill up your cart with confidence, knowing you’re getting top-notch items at unbeatable prices.

Do You Purchase Costco House Brand Items?

Are you a Costco shopper? What are your favorite purchases there? Share any tips, tricks, or experiences in the comments section below!

Portions of this article originally appeared on Food Drink Life.

Thank you for sharing!

2 thoughts on “Costco Brand Secrets Every Shopper Should Know”

  1. Hey, Sage!
    I don’t get up to Costco very often from Fort Scott, but maybe I’ll run into you one of these days!
    Take care!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *