Costco Gluten-Free DealsWe 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.
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 ExamplesFor 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.