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Big Brands Hidden Behind Costco’s Kirkland Label

by Michael McDevit
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Costco’s Kirkland products might not have the same packaging as some higher-end brands, but underneath it all they’re exactly the same – we just didn’t know it. Let’s take a look at some of Kirkland’s most popular products, which are actually the same as many well-known brands.


1.Ocean Spray Juice

Ocean Spray Juice ©calimedia | ©David Tonelson / Shutterstock.com

Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice is the creme de la creme of juice drinks, but it can be pricey. For a pack of four Ocean Spray Juice Cocktail at Walmart it’s $11.92. However, if you hop over to Costco, you can pick up a 6-pack of their cranberry juice for a fraction of the price. 

While it may be called Kirkland Signature Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice, it’s exactly the same product – just much cheaper. A pack of six will set you back just $4.29, working out at around $0.71 per unit. It may have Kirkland Signature stamped above it, but this product still has the Ocean Spray branding so you know it’s just as good. 


2.Huggies

Diapers are a must have for any one with kids, but it can be one of the most expensive products to buy. Newborn babies get through an estimated 8 to 12 diapers a day, so it’s a cupboard essential that needs topping up non-stop. Cheaper brands often get a bad rep as parents want to give their children “the best.” 

A pack of Kimberley-Clark’s Huggies Little Movers costs around $40 for 104 in other grocery stores, but mom and dad are missing a trick if they’re not shopping at Costco. Kirkland Signature are actually Huggies in disguise, only they’re $35.99 for 150.


3.Pureology Moisture Hair Care

Pureology Moisture Hair Care @Pam Salinas | @hannah Thompson / Pinterest.com

Pureology has a good reputation as one of L’Oreal’s luxury lines of hair care. It’s an undeniably good product, but like most things on that end of the scale, it comes with a hefty price tag. Just one bottle of shampoo will set you back $27 at Albertsons’ Safeway while a shampoo/conditioner combo is over $60. 

A trip to Costco will save you almost $20. For just $9.99 you can get exactly the same product in exactly the same color bottle. It’s been tried and tested multiple times and no one can see the difference. It just goes to show that a brand name can hike the price up.


4.Reynolds Aluminum Foil

Reynolds Aluminum Foil ©David Tonelson / Shutterstock.com | @OpenSky / Pinterest.com

Some brands disguise themselves to be completely swallowed whole by the Kirkland name. Sometimes the packaging is the same color or shape so it’s still recognizable to the consumer, but sometimes it’s changed altogether. Alternatively, Costco simply partners with some businesses and keeps packaging nearly the same. 

The New Zealand brand Reynolds is owned in part by Howmet. There is a much higher price if you’re buying the foil at Costco than if you were making a purchase elsewhere, but you get more for your money. Costco sells larger “foodservice” Reynolds foil which isn’t available in other stores. 


5.Starbucks Coffee

Starbucks Coffee @therese washburn | @Jamie Harrington / Pinterest.com

Starbucks is a gargantuan coffee chain. While their stores are popular, so are their take-home products, including their ground beans. Customers can get their hands on a 2 and a half pound bag of Kirkland’s Espresso Blend “Custom roasted by Starbucks” for just $14.89. 

Buying a similar product straight from the coffee house would cost you significantly more, which is why Costco struck gold with this one. It comes in medium roast, dark roast, and decaf medium roast to cater for all tastes. Buyers say it’s just as good and a fraction of the cost. 


6.Duracell Batteries

Duracell Batteries ©gresei / Shutterstock.com | @Adriano Rossi / Pinterest.com

Batteries are always handy to have lying around in the house, even in this digital age where most things are rechargeable. Thankfully, Costco has got us covered. Customers can purchase a 48-pack of Kirkland Signature Alkaline AA Batteries for just $16.99. Some cheap batteries can run out quickly, but these have the same power as Berkshire Hathaway ’s Duracell. 

Costco’s CEO Craig Jelinek let the cat out of the bag back in 2016 when he confirmed that Duracell was the manufacturer of the Kirkland brand. Considering a pack of 48 Duracell batteries will cost almost $10 more, it seems like a great deal.


7.Grey Goose Vodka

Grey Goose Vodka ©Jayakumar / Shutterstock.com | ©David Tonelson / Shutterstock.com

It’s not just whiskey and wine lovers that appreciate Costco’s alcohol selection, but vodka lovers, too. Bacardi’s Grey Goose has a reputation as one of the cleanest, smoothest vodkas on the market, but it isn’t exactly the cheapest. However, alcohol website Under the Label claimed that Kirkland Signature vodka was made in the same place. 

Grey Goose has said it’s not true, but customers are adamant that when it comes to drinking the stuff, there’s virtually no difference. Whether this is a rumor that the brands are keeping under their hat, for now, remains to be seen. 


8.Jelly Belly

Jelly Belly @Curriculum / Pinterest.com | ©melissamn / Shutterstock.com

Jelly Belly jelly beans are the perfect way to satiate sweet cravings, but they can be very expensive. Albertson ’s Safeway sells nine ounces of the candy for $5.49, but why pay that when you can get exactly the same thing at Costco for a fraction of the price? Kirkland’s Signature Jelly Belly Gourmet Beans come in at $16.99 for four lbs. 

This partnership may be one of the most beautiful things to come out of Costco yet. These huge tubs come with 49 flavors that are both fat free and kosher, which is a candy lover’s dream come true. Now just try to guess how many Kirkland Signature jelly beans fit in that jar!


8.Bumble Bee Tuna

High quality canned fish can be difficult to find, with Walmart selling one can for upwards of $3.20. Costco was able to secure a deal with Bumble Bee seafood back in the early ‘00s to try and create a superior product called Kirkland Signature Solid White Albacore. 

Bumble Bee Tuna @Wintercold | @Bm L / Pinterest.com

The product has been a core staple on the pantry shelves for almost two decades now, proving popular with customers. It may set you back $17.89 for eight cans, but that’s still cheaper than the going rate at some other big name stores. 


McCormicks

McCormick’s is a seasoning and spice company that has been around for a while. However, it isn’t the only authority when it comes to seasoning. Kirkland’s Signature Organic No-Salt Seasoning comes in a 14.5-ounce container and retails for $9.49 on Amazon.com—approximately $0.65 per ounce.

Their rumored McCormick duplicate, according to Costco, is made from a blend of 21 spices. The seasoning is USDA-certified organic and much healthier for you in terms of its lower sodium count, though it is not, as some reviewers noted, meant to replace salt. As a bonus, this Kirkland Signature seasoning happens to be certified Kosher. 


Jim Beam

Jim Beam Bourbon ©Monticello / Shutterstock.com | @Ben Levine / Pinterest.com

Kirkland’s Signature Bourbon Whiskey has a flavoring that is common to a lot of bourbons—it has a smokey profile with a light spice additive in it. But Kirkland’s current whiskey brand is not produced by Jim Beam the way its bourbon label once was. However, Kirkland’s Canadian Whiskey is made by Crown Royal, according to Mashed.

Kirkland has distributors all over the world, and its bourbon is equally outsourced, with Mashed reporting that George Dickel is now the manufacturer, replacing Jim Beam. Tastings rated Kirkland Canadian Whiskey an impressive 91/100 in its blind taste test.


Hellmann’s

Hellmann's mayonnaise © Heather McArdle / Shutterstock | Kirkland Mayo @chronomarketguinee / Facebook.com

For $7.19, you can purchase two quarts (sixty-four ounces) of Kirkland Signature Real Mayonnaise. This mayonnaise was the subject of a Consumer Reports blind taste test that compared it to Hellmann’s. Incredibly, CR found that Hellmann’s and Kirkland pretty much taste the same, though it’s only a rumor that they’re actually the same product.

The only difference? The price. The price difference is also abundantly apparent when you look at Best Foods’ mayonnaise, which is priced at $7.49 for a 64-ounce jar. Though thirty cents might not seem like a bankroll, it’s still a decent savings. Plus, according to CR, you aren’t sacrificing for taste.


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