Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Costco Gluten-Free Bargains


Costco Gluten-Free Deals

We recently purchased a membership at Costco in order to take advantage of some very nice cost-savings on items we consume regularly, especially fresh produce. We joined only after taking a look around to make sure that the savings would more than offset the price of the membership, and it quickly became obvious that just the yearly savings on gluten-free produce would pay for the membership.

Update (2011-August): I have added a new Costco Gluten-Free Bargains for 2011 (link) blog that extends upon this blog with some more current information and more details on prices for a list of gluten-free products Costco offers currently.  Some of the items features in this blog are still very much available and still a deal, and additional deals and money-saving gluten-free items are available in 2011.

Costco Gluten-Free Products : Kirkland Brand and others.

In addition to great deals on larger quantities of fresh produce, I have been quite impressed to find a few of Costco's own "Kirkland" brand products that are clearly labeled gluten-free. As such, I tried them, and have been quite impressed with the value and quality of the products. A couple of these Kirkland / Costco gluten-free products that we have tried and really like include:
  • Tortilla Strips / Chips - manufactured by Mission for Costco it seems. A 3 pound bag of these gluten-free corn tortilla chips (just corn, lime, water, veg. oil, and salt) is a bargain at just
  • Rotisserie Chicken - Costco's own freshly prepared chicken, and quite nice for those that enjoy a roasted chicken but don't have the time to bake one at home.
In addition, Costco has some well-known name-brand gluten-free products like the Mary's Gone Crackers. I just picked up a 20 ounce box of these gluten-free crackers at Costco for just $6.99.

I like the ability to purchase gluten-free in bulk on occasion, especially when it is products I regularly consume, and when the bulk-packaging also leads to more economical gluten-free foods in general (not all bulk-packaging is a "bargain" - calculate first, then buy). The products mentioned here have passed my calculation-test. When compared to smaller quantity packaging elsewhere, these gluten-free products are quite competitive on a per-ounce or per-pound basis.

Costco Gluten-Free Products : Money-Saving Examples

For example, with the Mary's Gone Crackers. As I mentioned, the 20-ounce box at Costco was $6.99. This compares to the next cheapest place to get them (which is Amazon.com in 12 box cartons, 6.5oz per box; or 78 ounces total - for a price of $36.86 currently). The difference is substantial when you calculate it: Amazon's price is good, but that same 20 ounces of crackers will cost you $9.45 at Amazon's rate compared to Costco's $6.99. So, you save nearly $2.50 per every 20-ounces (i.e., a 26% savings!) over Amazon by purchasing your gluten-free Mary's Gone Crackers at Costco. Plus, though I really like the crackers, it is a bit much to have 12 of those 6.5oz boxes here at once :)

Now those Kirkland / Mission brand gluten-free tortilla strips I really like are also a supreme deal: $3.49 for 3 pounds of chips. They have held up well once opened too, even without preservatives. So, at just over a buck/pound, the tortilla strips are a wonderful bargain for a crunchy gluten-free snack food I can keep around for my weak moments where a fresh carrot or celery-stick just isn't fixing my cravings for munchies.

If your version of a snack includes jerky / pepperoni, I saw some Oberto Classics brand of Beef Pepperoni sticks clearly labeled gluten-free (and no added MSG) on the front of the bag. A 24-ouce (i.e., 1.5 pound) bag was $8.99, which I believe is pretty decent for that type of thing.

If you have a Costco near you, check it out. Their fresh produce section is really nice. And, we've been saving a fortune over the grocery-store prices on things like organic carrots (I buy 10# bags for munching, and for the ever important gluten-free carrot cake) and all sorts of other fruits and veggies including: greens (lettuces, etc), broccoli, apples, mangos, grapes, cherries, peaches, nectarines, watermelon, apricots, bananas, onions, and the list goes on... plus, they have some decent prices on frozen things too (I like keeping a bag of Wyman's wild blueberries in the freezer for smoothies e.g.).

I still go to Whole Foods Market for some items I can't find at Costco, but I can at least knock out some of the "core" items while saving some money thanks to the availability of some great gluten-free bulk items at Costco.

23 comments:

delightfullyglutenfree said...

We love that chicken!
I love finding new gf stuff at Costco.

Kerrie said...

I love warehouse stores. We buy most of our specific staples there. I've gotten great deals on condiments, butcher shop items, frozen goods, and even fruits & veggies. We use the savings we get from shopping at warehouse stores to shop for speciality GF items!

MT aka hellokittiemama said...

Wow, I'll have to get over to Costco and check. Since my son went onto the gluten free/casein free diet I stopped doing the "bulk" of my shopping at Costco and now do Whole foods/Wegmans and also an organic food co-op. I had no idea to check Costco and I now feel like a dummy. Will definitely be checking it out this weekend!!!

Anonymous said...

I also love the chicken from Costco. You can do a great chicken salad with the bits and pieces. Just add some dried cranberries, broken up pecans and a GF bottled poppy seed dressing to moisten. Really great and easy.

Sherry

Jaime said...

Hi,

First off let me say thank you for your blog. It is great to have such wonderful resources as I am just starting out. I am just curious however, Gluten-free produce? I never would have guessed that there would be gluten in produce. Could you possibly give me some more information on this? I would appreciate it.

Thanks,
Jaime

Nikki said...

Thanks for the information. I've been staying away from bulk or wholesale places like Costco because I just assumed I could still get better deals with sales/coupons at regular grocery stores. But most gluten free items don't go on sale or have coupons! I'll be checking out Costco again.

The Chatty Housewife said...

Do you know if the corn tortillas they sell are gluten free? I can't remember the brand, but I was wondering if you knew.

They sell the crunchmaster rice crackers, which are now gluten free too.

Mike Eberhart said...

Chatty...,
Thanks for stopping by. Regarding the tortillas at Costco, and whether gluten-free. Well, the only ones I have experience with are the tortilla chips - the ones I pictured - and those are clearly marked GF. Now, if you are talking about another tortilla product (perhaps soft corn tortillas), I have not taken a look at those yet, though I will try to remember next time we are shopping. regards.

The Chatty Housewife said...

The soft corn tortillas at Costco in Bellingham, WA are Guerrero brand. Here is the website. Read the last 5 questions. They say they are naturally a non-gluten product but are produced in a plant that makes flour tortillas. Even though they use separate machinery and say they are careful with allergens... would you risk eating these tortillas?

The Chatty Housewife said...

http://qa.missionfoods.com/qualityinternet/frequentlyquestions.aspx

Sorry that I forgot to include the link! Select "food allergens" from the menu.

Anonymous said...

My favorite Gluten Free items at Costco- Kirkland Salsa
Empire Kosher Chicken Breasts and Cornish Hens

Mary's Gone Crackers's Crackers

Food Should Taste Good Multigrain Tortilla Chips

Anonymous said...

Costco also carries Larabar Fruit and Nut Food Bar and Chef Creation Chicken Broth... Both of which are Gluten Free.

The Chatty Housewife said...

And I love Trio bars. They recently had a coupon for $5 off. That's 1/3 less cost for me!

Anonymous said...

I have a wheat allergy, and had a very bad reaction to some tacos I made with Mission brand Corn Tortillas (soft ones), which have no wheat in the ingredients. I seasoned the meat with Nueva Cocina Taco seasoning, which also lists no wheat in its ingredients either, but does list maltodextrin and vinegar solids, which could be suspect I guess. But I've got my money on the Mission tortillas as the source for my wheat reaction, so I would just warn others to be careful with that brand. I suspect it was from cross contamination at their factory. Especially since I've never had any reactions to maltodextrin or vinegar before (unless it was malt).

The other brand of corn tortilla chips at Costco that others might be referring to could be a brand called Abuelita - I LOVE those chips, they are great, and I've never had a reaction. Only sold at Costco. At least in my neck of the woods. Kirkland brand tortilla chips are also excellent, and also a chip I've never had a bad reaction to.

joelle said...

I don't know if anyone still reads this blog. But I wanted to know if anyone has had a reaction recently to eating Kirkland brand canned chicken (premium chunk). It seems like that is the ONLY thing that my son and I could of had that caused us to be glutened. We just purchase these this past week, I'm wondering if some contamination happened - we definitely both had TWO separate gluten reactions after eating it - to the point that I thought I had the stomach flu because I couldn't pinpoint anything but the chicken that everyone states is gluten free.

Rochelle said...

Is Costco's paella (prepared, in refrigerator section) gluten free? The ingredients label suggests it MIGHT be.

Trish said...

I had a reaction to the Kirkland canned chicken as well. The chicken was purchased on the 12th of January, 2010, and I was glutened on the 14th (resulting in a 3 day relentless migraine). The only thing I mixed with it was Kraft real mayo. I thought it was the mayo that glutened me at first, but I believe it was the chicken now. I see some suspicious ingredients on the label. I have a wheat allergy.

Trish said...

I have to correct my above post. The canned Kirkland chicken did not gluten me. It was the Kraft real mayo. This was the third time it glutened me. I had more of the chicken, without the mayo, and was fine. I give the chicken the OK.

Christina said...

Costo just changed the brand of chicken broth they are stocking. They now offer Kirkland brand organic chicken broth. It's not labeled gluten free, but there isn't any wheat listed. Does anyone know if it is gluten free?

pattygirl said...

I am wondring about Costco's rotisserie chicken also. I will be going this afternoon and sure hope it is GF. I'm wondering if each Costco uses the same ingredients. I've noticed at other places the rotisserie chicken has soy sauce listed as an ingredient :( I'm anxious to find out about the Costco's in my area (OC, CA). I'll post what I find out!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if the Kirkland brand of beef patties are GF? The turkey burgers and salmon patties are.

Anonymous said...

I just called the Costco number on the box of Kirkland chicken stock I bought and they tell me both their organic and non-organic chicken stock products are gluten free.

Anonymous said...

I called to ask about Kirkland brand beef patties and there were a couple different types, so it's helpful to know the item numbers but the customer rep. did look up Kirkland brand sirloin patties and Kirkland brand ground beef patties and both of those are gluten-free.