Olive oil is
Kirkland Signature cooking oils
By Tracy Schneider
WHEN THE CEO of Costco’s grapeseed oil supplier told me that his mother-in-law had switched
to grapeseed oil to fry the eggplant for the family
specialty, Moroccan eggplant salad, I was intrigued.
I knew nothing about grapeseed oil, and I wanted
that recipe. (You’ll find it on page 80.)
Tracy Schneider fills February’s consumer reporter slot
with a behind-the-scenes
look at a popular Kirkland
Signature product. Send your
questions about this article to:
This supplier (who, for competive reasons, must
remain anonymous) has been working with Costco
buyer Shauna Lopez and her team to develop two
new offerings in Costco warehouses right now:
Kirkland Signature™ Grape Seed Oil and Kirkland
Signature Mediterranean Blend Oil.
It’s hard to imagine how many minuscule grape
seeds it takes to fill the trucks driving up to the processing plant in Bezier, the only factory of its kind
in France, where much of Costco’s Kirkland
Signature Grape Seed Oil is pressed.
As you might already have guessed, grape
seeds are a byproduct of the winemaking industry.
Costco’s supplier carefully sources his grape seeds
from vineyards in France and Argentina. The oil is
first extracted from those tiny seeds and then
refined. The result is an oil with a light flavor and
a very high smoke point—perfect for frying.
“Many Costco shoppers deep-fry their holiday
turkeys in our Kirkland Signature Peanut Oil,” says
Shauna, “and they’re familiar with the term ‘smoke
point,’ the temperature at which an oil begins to
Mediterranean Blend Oil
smoke and then burn. Because of peanut oil’s high
smoke point, 450 F, it’s great for frying.”
Grapeseed oil’s higher smoke point of 485 F
makes it even better for frying. And its light, neu-
tral taste allows the delicate flavor of foods such as
eggplant to come through.
The Costco buying team wanted to offer members a cooking oil that echoed the health benefits
found in the Mediterranean diet, which includes
numerous servings of fish (rich in omega-3s), generous use of olive oil (monounsaturated fats) and a
large variety of fruits and vegetables (antioxidants).
Kirkland Signature Mediterranean Blend Oil was
the result. It’s a health-conscious oil containing
canola oil for heart-healthy omega- 3, extra virgin
olive oil for monounsaturated fats and grapeseed
oil for powerful antioxidants.
But the Costco team didn’t stop there. The canola
oil in this blend was very carefully chosen. You may
know that canola oil comes from one of several varieties of the rape plant. For the Mediterranean Blend Oil
the team stipulated that it be made from traceable,
non-GMO (genetically modified organism) rapeseed
and insisted that it was to be expeller pressed—
extracted by a chemical-free, mechanical process so
no solvents are involved.