Big brands disguised as Costco’s Kirkland Signature products

Here are the popular brands behind Costco’s Kirkland Signature products

Costco's Kirkland Signature

Some people think that store-brand products like those under Costco’s Kirkland Signature label are manufactured by the retailer themselves. But in reality, those items are made by third-party companies that are selling similar products under a set of different brand names. While a few of those brands remain undisclosed, several of them are already public knowledge. Below are some of the popular brands behind Costco’s Kirkland Signature products.

Acetum balsamic vinegar

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Costco’s Kirkland Signature Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena proudly displays the name of its 100-year-old manufacturer on its bottle. According to the Costco Connection magazine, the retail store chain has teamed up with the Modena-based company Acetum since 1999 to make its balsamic vinegar.

Alexander Murray scotch

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Costco’s Kirkland Signature scotch is a product of independent bottler Alexander Murray. This piece of information was confirmed by Stephen Lipp, president and CEO of Alexander Murray, in an interview with Market Watch Magazine in 2016. The publication also noted that Alexander Murray has been making Kirkland Signature scotch since 2007.

Blommer chocolate

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The Costco Connection magazine revealed in 2013 that Kirkland Signature Milk Chocolate Almonds are supplied by Blommer Chocolate Company, the largest cocoa processor and chocolate ingredient supplier in North America.

Costco and Blommer even co-developed a sustainability program for cocoa sourcing in West Africa’s Ivory Coast, where most of the retail store chain’s raw chocolate ingredients come from. The Costco Connection said the farming agreement between the two companies and Ivory Coast communities ensures high quality and traceable products while providing fair wages, education, and other services to the local communities.

Bolthouse Farms carrot juice

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The Costco Connection magazine revealed in 2009 that the retail store chain has partnered with Bolthouse Farms to produce the former’s store-brand carrot juice. Made from organic carrots that get harvested, peeled, and juiced all within 24 hours, Costco’s three-pack bottles of carrot juice proudly displays the logo of Bolthouse Farms on its packaging.

Bumble Bee tuna

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Costco’s Kirkland Signature canned tuna is made by seafood company Bumble Bee Foods. Costco executive vice-president Tim Rose said in an interview with Money magazine back in 2003 that canned tuna in the market had become poor in quality over the past years, and that pushed the retail store chain to team up with Bumble Bee on creating a meatier product under the Kirkland Signature label.

It was in 2002 when Kirkland Signature Solid White Albacore Superior Quality Tuna in Water became available at all Costco locations across the U.S.

Chinet cups

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Costco’s huge packs of disposable red cups are made by Chinet. The blue logo of the disposable tableware company is featured on Costco’s Big Red Cup packaging just below the Kirkland Signature label. Chinet has been in the business of manufacturing paper plates, paper bowls, and disposable cutlery for over 90 years.

Diamond Naturals dog food

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According to review site Dog Food Insider, Kirkland Signature dog foods are actually made by Diamond Pet Foods, owned by Schell and Kampeter, Inc. As a matter of fact, Kirkland Signature dog foods were part of a recall for Diamond dog foods in 2012 following a salmonella outbreak at Diamond’s production plant in South Carolina.

Costco and the Kirkland brand were even named in a class-action lawsuit stemming from the incident. Despite the lawsuit, both Diamond and Kirkland Signature are still considered two of the most popular dog food brands today.

Duracell batteries

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If you’re one of those shoppers who avoid picking up store-brand batteries for fear that they will drain faster than batteries made by big brands, don’t hesitate to choose Kirkland Signature batteries next time you drop by Costco, as they are actually made by Duracell.

In an interview with Atlanta station WSB-TV back in 2016, Costco CEO Craig Jelinek revealed for the first time that Duracell is the maker of Kirkland Signature batteries.

E&J Gallo wines

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An Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau registry suggests that Kirkland Signature California wines are manufactured by E&J Gallo Winery. But since the latter also serves as a global distributor of other California wines, it’s not clear whether it actually makes Costco’s store-brand California wines or simply acts as a middleman.

Ehrmann yogurt

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Costco’s Kirkland Signature Greek yogurt is believed by many to be manufactured by Vermont food company Ehrmann Commonwealth Dairy, the maker of dairy brands like Yoginos and LACTO Zero. For one, American businessman Peter Cohan mentioned in his 2017 book Disciplined Growth Strategies that Ehrmann Commonwealth Dairy made Greek yogurt under private labels to a number of retail store chains, including Costco.

Formaggi Zanetti Parmigiano Reggiano

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The back of the packaging of Kirkland Signature Parmigiano Reggiano says that the 24-month aged cheese is “specially selected” by the Italian company Formaggi Zanetti. Formaggi Zanetti exports different kinds of cheese around the world, so it isn’t surprising that it’s actually the brand behind Costco’s store-brand Parmigiano Reggiano.

George Dickel bourbon

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Punch, an online magazine dedicated to all kinds of alcoholic beverages, once reported that George Dickel is the best bet for the current supplier of Costco for its Kirkland Signature bourbon.

A decade ago, the Kirkland bourbon had the phrase “distilled and bottled by the Commonwealth of Kentucky” on its label, suggesting that it was the same as the Jim Beam bourbon produced in Clermont, Kentucky by manufacturer Beam Suntory. But those line has now been replaced by the phrase “Tennessee Straight Bourbon Whiskey,” an apparent nod to George Dickel bourbon, which is made in Tullahoma, in Coffee County, Tennessee.

Gordon Biersch beer

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According to The Takeout, Kirkland Signature beers on the East Coast are made by Matt Brewing in New York while Kirkland Signature beers on the West Coast are manufactured by Gordon Biersch.

The bottles of West Coast Kirkland Signature beer has the name Hopfen Und Malz Brewing Co. on them, and the website Mashed reported that the address of Hopfen Und Malz matches that of Gordon Biersch in San Jose, California.

Though the regional divide has yet to be confirmed, an Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau registry shows that both Matt Brewing and Gordon Biersch have actually applied for labels under the Kirkland Signature brand.

Henkel laundry detergent

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Some reviewers of cleaning products think that Kirkland Signature laundry detergents are manufactured by German company Henkel. And there’s some information that somehow supports their speculation.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported in 2008 that Huish, which made laundry detergents for Costco, would merge with Unilever’s laundry detergent division. From that merger came Sun Products, which was known for laundry care products, like Snuggle. Fast-forward to 2016, Sun Products was acquired by Henkel, which itself produces popular laundry detergent such as Persil.

Humboldt Creamery vanilla ice cream

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Back in 2016, ABC’s KRCR News revealed that California’s Humboldt Creamery is making vanilla ice cream for Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand. Though Humboldt Creamery’s very own vanilla ice cream has also been available at Costco alongside the Kirkland Signature vanilla ice cream, there have been times when both products disappeared from the shelves, suggesting that the deal between the two companies has yet to be sorted out completely.

Isigny Ste-Mère brie

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Kirkland Signature Isigny Ste-Mère Brie is made by Normandy-based company Isigny Ste-Mère, which exports butter, creams, and cheeses around the world. According to the Costco Connection magazine, Costco’s store-brand brie is a double-cream brie with a 60% butterfat content and mushroomy notes.

Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis

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As seen on the back of its bottle, Costco’s Kirkland Signature Chablis Premier Cru is a creation of winemaker Odile van der Moere, who happens to be a cellar master for the French winery Jean-Marc Brocard, where she has worked for over two decades.

That piece of info plus the close resemblance of the ammonite logo on the Kirkland Chablis to the one found on the Jean-Marc Brocard bottles make a lot of people believe that the Kirkland Chablis is also produced by Jean-Marc Brocard.

Jelly Belly candy

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As seen in the packaging, Kirkland Signature jelly beans are manufactured by the Jelly Belly Candy Company. Costco’s Kirkland Signature jelly beans are available in four-pound jars containing 49 different flavors that are all kosher and fat-free.

Kimberly-Clark diapers

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Kimberly-Clark, the maker of Huggies and GoodNites nappies, is also the manufacturer of Kirkland Signature diapers. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal back in 2017, Costco finance chief Richard Galanti revealed that the retail store chain had reached out to both Kimberly-Clark and its rival Procter & Gamble to ask if they would like to produce diapers for the Kirkland Signature brand. And in the end, only Kimberly-Clark agreed.

Interestingly, as many parents with babies might have already noticed, Costco doesn’t sell Procter & Gamble’s Pampers. In fact, the retailer’s aisle dedicated to nappies are only filled with Kirkland Signature and Kimberly-Clark diapers.

Are Kirkland diapers made by Huggies? Kirkland diapers are made by Kimberly-Clark, who also make Huggies diapers. 

La Madrileña tequila

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All tequilas have NOM, an identifying number that can be used to find out which distillery made them. According to Mashed, three tequilas under the Kirkland Signature label have NOMs that point to Mexican wine and liquor company called La Madrileña.

LeVecke vodkas

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Rumor has it that Costco’s Kirkland Signature vodka is made by LeVecke, one of the largest producers of spirits in the world. An Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau registry shows LeVecke, the maker of Island 808 and Pau Maui vodkas, applied to supply vodka under the Kirkland Signature label. It’s not clear, however, if that tells the complete story.

Costco bottled water

Costco bottled water
Costco bottled water is collected from the Rocky Mountains near Kirkland, California

California-based Niagara Bottling is the beverage company behind Kirkland Signature purified water. Costco’s partnership with Niagara Bottling is no secret as the label on the bottles of Kirkland Signature drinking water indicates Niagara Bottling as the manufacturer for Costco water bottles.

Niagara Bottling also makes spring and sparkling water under its own brands Niagara, H2O+, and V-ssentials, and sells them at different retailers.

How much is a 40 pack of Kirkland water? Costco water bottles typically cost 4 dollars for a 40 pack, which equates to 10 cents per bottle. 

How good is Costco bottled water? Despite its low pricing, Costco bottled water is safe to drink. It has been given a Grade A from medical doctors being that it comes from a safe source – Costco collects the water from the Rocky Mountains near Kirkland, California. The water also passes purification tests and has not shown any contaminants during testing. 

Ocean Spray cranberry juice

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As clearly seen on its packaging, Kirkland Cranberry Premium 100% Juice is manufactured by the Massachusetts-based company Ocean Spray. Costco’s store-brand cranberry juice is being sold in packs of two 96-fluid-ounce bottles, so cranberry lovers must make sure they have enough room in their fridge if they plan on buying a pair or two.

Patrick Lesec côtes du rhône villages

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The description on the back of the bottle of Kirkland Signature Côtes du Rhône Villages names Patrick Lesec as its maker. Interestingly, according to importer Regal Wines, Patrick Lesec does not grow his own grapes but only partners with third-party wineries that manufacture products based on the ingredients and method of production dictated by Patrick Lesec.

Perrigo infant formula

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Costco’s Kirkland Signature infant formula is made by Perrigo. Perrigo’s StoreBrandFormula.com, which lists down the company’s retail partnerships, names Costco as one of its partners. The website even links directly to the Kirkland Signature Pro-Care Infant Formula on Costco’s online shop.

But prior to Costco’s partnership with Perrigo, Kirkland Signature’s infant formula was first manufactured by Abbott Laboratories, which is the maker of Similac. According to a USDA report to Congress on baby formula prices and availability, Abbott Laboratories started producing infant formula for Costco back in 2001.

Pureology moisture hair care

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Though not officially confirmed, there are speculations around the web, especially on Reddit, that Costco’s affordable sets of Kirkland Signature moisture hair care are manufactured by L’Oréal’s Pureology division.

While there isn’t any concrete evidence to back up those rumors, the bottles of Costco’s store-brand moisture hair care products look pretty similar to those made by Pureology. Online reviews also suggest that the Kirkland Signature-branded shampoo and conditioner are great alternatives to the Pureology versions.

Reynolds aluminum foil

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As seen on the packaging, Costco’s Kirkland Signature foodservice foil is made by New Zealand-based company Reynolds Group Holdings. Compared to the ubiquitous Reynolds aluminum foil, the Kirkland foils come in larger sizes which explains their more expensive price tags.

Rice’s Honey

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Lucas Stanuch, Costco corporate foods and sundries buyer, told the Costco Connection magazine in 2019 that the retail chain store has an extensive program to provide local honey to customers. But since not all U.S. states have enough beekeepers to meet the demand, Costco has partnered with several honey suppliers across the country to produce Kirkland Signature 100% Local Raw Unfiltered Honey.

One of those suppliers is Rice’s Honey. The Colorado-based company, which is known for its brand of Local Hive Honey, has been making honey products since 1924.

Sonova hearing aids

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The owner’s manual for Kirkland Signature 9.0 Digital Hearing Instrument lists Sonova as its manufacturer. The Hearing Review magazine reported in 2019 that Sonova struck a deal with Costco to make products under the Kirkland Signature label. Sonova’s own hearing aid brands include Phonak and Unitron.

Starbucks coffee

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Costco’s relatively cheap Kirkland Signature house blend coffee is manufactured by Starbucks. Stamped with the phrase “custom roasted by Starbucks,” the two-and-a-half-pound bags of Kirkland Signature house blend coffee are available in medium roast, espresso blend dark roast, and decaf house blend medium roast.

Stearns & Foster mattress

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Though Costco isn’t really the premier destination for mattress shopping, the retail store chain does offer a wide range of mattress brands, including Novaform, Sleep Science, and its own Kirkland brand, which is actually made by the Stearns & Foster company. Available in king, California king, and queen sizes, the Kirkland Signature mattresses by Stearns & Foster use memory foam and gel foam.

Ti Point sauvignon blanc

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Costco’s Kirkland Signature Ti Point Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is produced by winemaker Tracy Haslam of the New Zealand-based Ti Point winery. Some bottles of the Kirkland sauvignon blanc even feature a crossed leaf graphic similar to the logo of Ti Point.

Warren motor oil

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Kirkland Signature full synthetic SAE 5W-30 motor oil is a product of Warren Oil Company, the maker of MAG 1 motor oils. While there’s no proof to claims that Warren Oil Company is also the manufacturer of other house-brand products like Walmart’s Super Tech and Amazon’s AmazonBasics motor oils, the oil company’s partnership with Costco is no secret as the phrase “Manufactured by Warren Distribution, Inc.” is emblazoned on the back of the jug of Kirkland Signature motor oil.

Source: Yahoo
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