Our original theory turned out to be wrong, but now we have the full scoop.
It’s always fun to shop the newest items at Costco, whether it’s a seasonal bakery find or an unexpected salty-sweet snack. But, if you’re a seasoned shopper, you know there are also staples to never leave the store without. And, one of the products that has a permanent place on our Costco list is the Kirkland Signature Bacon.
The private-label bacon is the perfect option for enjoying bacon any time of the year, whether you’re grilling Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers in July or baking a cozy Bacon Breakfast Casserole in December. It's one of our favorite deals in the store, and here’s why.
What Makes Kirkland Bacon So Good?
Costco’s hickory-smoked bacon is a top pick for its affordability and great taste. It has an ideal fat-to-meat ratio and a delicious smoky-sweet flavor. In fact, it even won a Consumer Reports taste test for the overall best bacon brand—stacked up against popular brands like Oscar Mayer, Wright, and Trader Joe’s.
“What makes it better, in all honesty, is they do choose a better hog,” said meat industry expert Ryan Stegall. “They focus on the hog, from start to finish, being a higher quality than the rest of the competition.”
Now, Costco fans are well aware that in order to bear the iconic red and black Kirkland label, grocery items must meet high-quality standards. What customers forget (or don’t consider) is that Kirkland products are often outsourced. Third-party vendors are usually responsible for everything up to the final packaging.
And these aren't just random suppliers—there are some massive food industry moguls at work behind the Kirkland logo (if you’ve ever heard the rumor that Grey Goose makes Kirkland Vodka, you know what we're talking about). These vendors offer their top-tier goods at much lower price points, ensuring that your membership holds its value.
So, if you’ve ever thought Costco’s bacon tasted like bacon you’ve had from other supermarkets, you might be correct.
Who Makes Kirkland Signature Bacon?
We previously reported that we suspected the supplier was industry leader Hormel because Costco and Hormel used to have a co-branded bacon line together back in 2005, as confirmed by Supermarket News.
However, a brand representative for Hormel reached out to debunk the rumor: Hormel does not make Kirkland bacon after all.
And, truthfully, there’s not one clear-cut answer. According to Stegall, “Costco traditionally utilizes single-source suppliers for most of their other products, however, because of the meat industry, it’s very difficult to use a single source depending on where they’re going to get it from.”
But, we do know that of the several regional suppliers, Smithfield is one of the largest, contributing an estimated 75 to 80% of the bacon sold under the Kirkland Signature label. Smithfield is one of the leading suppliers of premium pork products with bacon sold at Target, Kroger, and almost all major grocery stores, so it only makes sense for Costco to trust the company as a primary producer.
We’ve contacted Smithfield for comment, but have yet to receive a response.
If Smithfield really is the brand ‘bringing home the bacon’, this means shoppers are getting Smithfield-level quality at a much lower price point—and that’s something we can all shop happy about.
Read the original article on All Recipes.