Well-known names behind the Costco brand

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Here’s something you probably didn’t know: you can buy Costco brand products, and it will be like getting brand-name items but at a store brand price.

How? Costco partners with well-known companies to make some of the most popular Kirkland Signature products it sells.

exterior of costco store.
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Well-known names behind the Costco brand

It’s not like Costco hides these partnerships from shoppers. Just take a 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, it’s one of the reasons that 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.

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.

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 now 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. So, you do the math.

Costco tuna is Bumblebee

According to CNN, in 2003 Costco started selling Kirkland brand tuna that is from Bumblebee. They continue to sell it today. 

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. 

Costco coffee roasted by Starbucks

bag of kirkland signature coffee made by starbucks.
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Whether shopping in the store or on the Costco website, look closely at the product description for Kirkland Signature house blend coffee. You’ll see that it says that Starbucks custom roasts the coffee beans.

Genuine Keurig K Cups

Speaking of coffee, you can buy Kirkland Signature coffee k cups 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.”

Here are tips on how to make cold brew coffee.

Costco Kirkland dog food

In 2012, Diamond Pet Foods recalled certain dog food, including Costco’s Kirkland Signature. Before this recall, shoppers may not have known which company makes the Costco Kirkland dog food. Now they know.

kirland signature costco brand dog food can.
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Stearns and Foster 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.

Kirkland organic granola

Nature’s Path Organic is responsible for making the Kirkland Granola. You may have seen the brand in places other than Costco, such as Target, Walmart or Thrive Market.

Here are some low carb yet sweet breakfast recipes.

Reynolds foil

When you pick up one of those mega-boxes of Kirkland aluminum foil at Costco, take a closer look at the box. It says Reynolds foil right on the label.

PaperChef parchment paper

Another baking necessity is the Kirkland parchment paper, which the PaperChef culinary company makes for Costco.

Sunsweet prunes

When you buy Kirkland Signature dried plums, aka prunes, you’ll see that they’re made in conjunction with the Sunsweet brand.

Jelly Belly jelly beans

If you’re particular about your jelly bean brands, you don’t have to worry about buying the generic version at Costco. The Kirkland brand is actually from Jelly Belly. 

This article on factory tours for families includes the Jelly Belly factory in California.

Big Red Cups by Chinet

You won’t find red solo cups at Costco. However, you will find something called the Big Red Cups from Kirkland Signature. And right under the Kirkland Signature logo, you’ll see it says Chinet, the company that makes the cups on Costco’s behalf.

Ocean Spray cranberry juice

You’re not getting generic and perhaps iffy cranberry juice when you purchase the Kirkland brand at Costco. That’s because, like the Chinet cups mentioned earlier, you’ll see Ocean Spray right on the label, under the Kirkland name. So, you know who makes it.

Costco brand laundry products

There are rumors that the liquid laundry detergent in Kirkland containers 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 way back when, because it is not in the business of doing private label deals. So, Kimberly-Clark got the gig instead.

This is all good information to have, as Costco continues to open more stores across the country, including the first Costco in Maine.

Leah Ingram is the author of 15 books, including “Suddenly Frugal: How to Live Happier and Healthier for Less” and “The Complete Guide to Paying for College.” She shares shopping advice for getting the most value for your time and money at www.leahingram.com 

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