12 Brands Behind Your Favorite Costco Kirkland Products

Private label grocery items are often the lowest-priced item on the shelf and far from being the gourmet choice that can satisfy a range of palates, from the everyday foodie and TikTok trendsetter to the professional chef. At Costco, it wants its private label, Kirkland Signature, to not just be the lowest-priced option, but also compete to be the best option on the shelf for its customers.

Kirkland Signature is named after the location of Costco's head office in Kirkland, Washington. It includes everything from everyday household items to high-quality wines and spirits. Costco created Kirkland Signature to develop a range of products that reflect members' preferences as well as to co-brand with some of the top brands in the world. 

Costco customers can expect all of Kirkland Signature products to feature ingredients that are extensively researched, ethically sourced, and packaged at the peak of freshness. Regardless of where the ingredients were produced, Costco customers can trust that all brand partners' workers are compensated fairly and work in safe environments.

When buying Kirkland Signature, you will be pleasantly surprised to purchase chocolate sourced from West Africa's Ivory Coast, green tea sourced from the number one tea brand in Japan, and balsamic vinegar produced in Modena, Italy.

Kirkland Signature chocolate is made by Blommer Chocolate Company

Chocolate is one of the most sought-after crops in the world, and its production is unfortunately rampant with unethical practices. In order to not contribute to deforestation and cruel labor practices, Kirkland Signature partners with Blommer Chocolate Company to source its chocolate for products like milk chocolate almonds, milk chocolate raisins, and chocolate chips.

The chocolate is sourced from West Africa's Ivory Coast, the world's top grower, where it can be grown and harvested in a river valley via its development program of 15 cocoa-bean farming cooperatives. 

This program has strict requirements for sustainability, social responsibility, and quality assurance. The cooperative trains the farmers to protect the ecosystem and not harvest more than what would hurt the land. The cooperative ensures that farmers receive business training and are paid fairly, as well as guarantee that there are community services to prevent child labor. As for the quality assurance, the chocolate is only harvested at its peak and blended with pure cocoa butter, instead of cheaper filler fats like palm oil, in order to produce a richer chocolate product.

Kirkland Signature tuna is made by Bumble Bee

The Bumble Bee Seafood Company, more commonly known as "Bumble Bee", has been Costco's main tuna supplier since 2002. Bumble Bee is a household name in the seafood category, to a large extent because of tuna, as it has been canning seafood since 1899.

The main reason we are aware that Bumble Bee is Kirkland Signature's main tuna supplier is because of a class action lawsuit declaring that the albacore tuna is not as dolphin-safe as is marked on the product label. The bright side is that Bumble Bee does seem to be addressing the issue and looking to make amends. The company releases a yearly sustainability impact and progress report to showcase the partnerships with organizations that reduce bycatch, restore ecosystems, and tackle plastic waste. Bumble Bee also has a traceability program, known as its Trace My Catch system, that was established back in 2015.

Tuna is one of the most consumed fish in the U.S. and used for a variety of dishes, especially the American home-cooked classic, the tuna noodle casserole. Kirkland Signature's albacore solid white tuna is wild caught and packed in water. It comes in a package of eight 7-ounce cans and contains 42 grams of protein per can.

Jelly Belly is the maker of Kirkland Signature jelly beans

Kirkland Signature chose to partner with Jelly Belly for its jelly bean product offering. Jelly Belly is one of the most beloved candy companies in the U.S. and is so recognizable that it was a no-brainer to co-brand with Kirkland Signature on the label.

Gustav Goelitz launched his first candy company, what is now known as Jelly Belly, in 1869. After almost 100 years of producing chocolates, creams, and other sweets, it launched the Goelitz mini jelly beans in 1965. Another 11 years later, it launched its first eight flavors and officially expanded to 40 flavors in the early 1980s.

The current Kirkland Signature product offering is a 4-pound tub that is a mix of 49 flavors made with both artificial and natural flavors and includes famous branded flavors like Sunkist for orange, A&W for root beer, and Dr. Pepper. Jelly Belly fans can also expect to enjoy other fan favorite flavors including green apple, licorice, lemon, tangerine, cream soda, very cherry, and grape. Each jelly bean is still stamped with the iconic Jelly Belly brand regardless of the co-branding. The recipe is kosher and fat-free, and every bite contains the nostalgic hard shell with a soft center that candy lovers crave.

Ito En green tea produces the Kirkland Signature green tea

Tea is the most popular drink in the world, only next to water, and is a staple in almost 80% of American households. Roughly half of a billion gallons that are consumed are green tea and is often preferred by Americans to be consumed iced over hot.

This 100-count box produced by Ito En priced at under $15 is an incredible deal for its high quality ingredients. Its 1400 reviews on the Costco website, of which 1225 are five-star reviews, should signify how much of a fan-favorite this tea is for Costco customers.

The Kirkland Signature green tea is perfect for both hot and cold brewing and is packed with vitamin C, catechins, EGCGs, and amino acids. This blend of sencha and matcha provides moderate and stable caffeine, making it ideal for those who want something less intense than coffee and need to avoid an afternoon energy crash.

Ito En partners with the Japanese farming community via the Tea-Producing Region Development Project in order to preserve the craft of tea harvesting. Consumers can rest assured that there will be no shortcuts in quality in any part of the process.

Kirkland Signature coffee pods are made by Green Mountain Coffee

For the consumers who love a great cup of coffee but do not prefer to use a drip coffee maker or French press, the invention of the coffee pod has been a game changer. Coffee pods are the perfect choice when all you need is one cup and want to avoid the hassle of a clean up.

The Kirkland Signature coffee pods are sourced from Green Mountain Coffee, the in-house coffee brand for Keurig, who is also the original creator of the coffee pods.

Coffee pods are currently the coffee preparation method with the highest carbon footprint, which has led Keurig to make some changes in the last few years. Green Mountain Coffee now makes K-Cup pods made from polypropylene, a recyclable material, and 100% of the electricity in the coffee manufacturing facilities come from renewable resources.

The current 120-count packaging is available in a breakfast blend, summit roast, pacific bold, and house decaf varieties. All varieties are made with a 100% Arabica coffee, are certified fair trade, and are organic and kosher. Whether you use these coffee pods to fuel yourself before a big meeting, or you want to get creative with a homemade cafe latte, these pods will get the job done.

Alexander Murray & Co. produce the Blended Scotch Whisky

One of the worst kept secrets about Costco is that the Kirkland Signature wines and spirits are some of the highest quality liquors made by a grocery store private label. Like every other Kirkland Signature co-branded product, the 12-year-old Kirkland blended Scotch whisky and a no age statement Scotch whisky proudly display the logo of its origin, Alexander Murray & Co.

Costco is one of the world's biggest retailers for alcoholic beverages. To support such a large partnership, it needs partners that can handle a tall order without sacrificing quality. It's a tough ask for a product that needs to be aged and produced with such care, and explains why Alexander Murray & Co. has been the chosen producer of its scotches since 2007.

As a whisky bottler, Alexander Murray & Co. also supplies for other grocery giants like Total Wines & More and Trader Joe's. According to a Forbes article in 2022, Alexander Murray's blenders likely crafted the blended Scotch whisky to emulate Dewar's, the number-one-selling blended Scotch whisky in the U.S. Both whiskys are matured in oak casks and are 80-proof. The no age statement whisky is 20% malt whisky and the 12-year-old whisky is 25% malt whisky.

Kirkland Signature tequila is produced by Santa Lucia Corporate Distillery

In order for a spirit to be sold as a tequila, it must be produced in one of five authorized states in Mexico — Michoacan, Jalisco, Guanajuato, Tamaulipas, or Nayarit — and be made with at least 51% blue agave. If the spirit does not meet those two requirements, the spirit must be labeled as a mezcal or agave spirit. All authentic tequila will also be marked with a Norma Oficial Mexicana (NOM) identification number which points to the exact distillery where it was produced.

Kirkland Signature makes the effort to ensure that consumers are not only getting a quality tequila, but also one that is made from 100% blue Weber agave, bottled in Mexico, and labeled with a NOM number to track the location of the producer — which is Santa Lucia Corporate Distillery, Forbes reported in 2022. Costco currently only contracts one distillery for all of its tequila production in order to maintain consistency in quality and taste across its orders. Tequila enthusiasts can verify the authenticity for themselves by looking for NOM 1173 on the Kirkland Signature tequila bottles.

While a more affordable tequila might not be everyone's ideal choice for those looking to sip without mixers, Kirkland Signature's tequila can be easily integrated into recipes for savory meals with chicken or sweet alcoholic drinks like margaritas.

Kirkland Signature foodservice foil is made by Reynolds Brands

The long-trusted kitchen cookware brand is the producer of the Kirkland Signature Reynolds Foodservice Foil. Reynolds Brands has been a leader in its category since its inception in 1946 and has been trusted by everyone from millions of home cooks to professional chefs.

Kirkland Signature Reynolds food service aluminum foil can withstand both high heat in the oven and extreme cold in the freezer making it an ideal tool used in many viral kitchen hacks. According to reviews on the Costco website, fans have raved about the thickness of the foil, its perfect width for standard baking sheets, and its competitive cost. Priced at only $.05 per square foot, it's roughly half the cost of other similar heavy duty Reynolds Brands products.

This aluminum foil is strong enough for commercial kitchens and comes with a corrugated board container with an integrated metal cutter to assist you in creating a clean cut at any length desired. Eco-friendly shoppers will also admire that the packaging is made with 100% recycled paperboard and the product itself is always recyclable.

Acetum produces the Kirkland Signature aged balsamic vinegar

Another fan favorite Kirkland Signature item is none other than the Kirkland Signature Organic Modena Balsamic Vinegar. Costco's move is bold, intentional, and takes the cultural origin of the product seriously by partnering with a company based in the province of Modena, Italy where balsamic vinegar production has been a tradition for centuries.

The partner of choice is Acetum, a 100-year-old company that has two respected certifications — a B Corp certification and a PGI certification — which showcase both the strong ethics of the company and the authenticity of the production.

A B Corp certification confirms that it is transparent about its social and environmental impact, while a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) certification guarantees that Acetum's vinegar was aged in wooden barrels for a minimum of 60 days in the region of Modena.

Balsamic vinegar is not just the perfect pairing for olive oil as a salad dressing. Balsamic vinegar also pairs beautifully with savory ingredients such as cured meats, blue cheeses, and grilled vegetables. Dessert lovers will want to drizzle it on top of chocolate desserts, especially ice cream.

Kirkland Signature cranberry juice is supplied by Ocean Spray

Ocean Spray has a variety of products available at Costco but only partners with Kirkland Signature for its cranberry juice blend. This product is made with 100% juice with no added sugar which allows it to be labeled as juice and not as a cranberry cocktail.

Ocean Spray started as a cooperative of three cranberry growers that originated in 1930. Over the last 90-plus years, its cooperative has grown to over 700 growers across North and South America. It's important to note that every bottle of the Kirkland Signature cranberry juice is only made with North American cranberries to keep the sourcing as local as possible.

Ocean Spray cranberriesare harvested across the northeastern region of the U.S. and Canada. The Kirkland Signature pack comes with two bottles for a total of 96-ounces. Cranberry juice is often a holiday mixer, try mixing it with your favorite summer iced tea or using it in a glazed salmon recipe.

Isigny Ste-Mère brie creates the Kirkland Signature imported French brie

Shopping at Costco comes in handy when you have to shop for celebrations. When you have to make charcuterie boards that feed over a dozen people, look no further than the Kirkland Signature Isigny Ste. Mère Imported French Brie.

Isigny Ste. Mère began as a cooperative in 1909 as a way to improve and expand milk production in hopes of gaining access to buyers in Paris. Today, the cooperative's members have expanded its functions to help protect and preserve its land, make mutually-beneficial decisions, benefit the local economies, and ensure high-quality products with traceability for its customers.

This double-cream brie is over 21 ounces that has been described as having a mildly-earthy, mushroom-forward, and buttery flavor profile. Brie cheese lovers will want to pay attention to when they eat their cheese as that will affect the taste of the product. Foodies who prefer a bolder flavor and creamier texture should eat the cheese as soon as possible. For those wanting a milder taste and less creamy texture, it is encouraged to wait a few weeks before consuming.

Whether you're looking to upgrade your snacks at home or looking to please your most judgmental relatives during the holidays, the Kirkland Signature Isigny Ste. Mère Imported French Brie is a stellar choice.

Kirkland Signature's whole bean coffee source has recently become undisclosed

For many years, it was widely known that Starbucks was the partner of choice for Kirkland Signature's private label coffee. Not only was the partnership convenient as both companies are based in Washington, but Starbucks is also one of the most well-known and admired companies in the coffee industry.

In late 2023, the labels on the Kirkland Signature whole bean coffee bags changed and no longer show the Starbucks logo, leading us to believe that the partnership for its private label has changed, at least for the house blend.

It is likely that the whole bean roasts are sourced from another brand sold at Costco, San Francisco Bay Coffee aka Roger's Family Co., as the descriptions of the house blend mention 100% Arabica coffee and kosher beans, both of which match the beans sourced by San Francisco Bay Coffee. San Francisco Bay Coffee is also Zero Waste Certified which matches the high standards Kirkland Signature requires to partner with it for its private label products.

Kirkland Signature products are known to be high-quality, ethically-sourced, and produced with no shortcuts in order to stay true to traditional production styles and recipes. Foodies will love the authenticity, chefs with a trained palette will love the quality, and everyday consumers will appreciate the availability and budget-friendly pricing that Costco has consistently delivered to us for decades.