Kirkland Signature is a
sign of quality and value
By Curtis Adamson
ONE OF THE most important—and
exciting—parts of a Costco buyer’s job is
to work closely with the companies that
supply our products. In the case of our
Kirkland Signature foods, this means
establishing deep relationships with farmers and producers who make fine foods to
our exact specifications.
I recently traveled to France’s Jura
Massif region, where our popular
Kirkland Signature Comté is made. This
beautiful and famous region, in eastern
France along the Swiss border, has been
centuries. Rivoire Jacquemin, the family-
owned company that supplies our cheese,
has been in business since 1860 and is
still 100 percent family owned.
The company’s mission reflects the
unique process behind making a fine
cheese, as well as its corporate spirit. It
says, “The production and aging of
Comté is founded on the ideas of partnership: between the earth and the farmer,
the farmer and the cheesemaker and the
cheesemaker and the affineur, the aging
expert. All are invested in the end result:
the highest-quality Comté cheese.”
COSTCO WHOLESALE introduced Kirkland
Signature™ products 20 years ago.
Why invest in our own line of private-label products? The reasons are pretty
straightforward. In cases where the right
product isn’t available—either because it
hasn’t been created yet or because it
doesn’t represent the best value to members—Costco creates its own. It’s happened with everything from men’s dress
shirts and pet food to facial tissue and
health-care items. Just about every product category and department has some
Kirkland Signature representation.
“The working rule followed by Costco
buyers is that all Kirkland Signature prod-
ucts must be equal to or better than the
national brands, and must offer a savings
to our members,” says Doug Schutt, execu-
tive vice president of Costco. “We know
we have met this goal when consumer
groups consistently rate Kirkland Signature
highly compared with national brands.”
Another rule is continuous improve-
ment. “We’re constantly looking at
Kirkland Signature items, revisiting them
with an eye to making them better,” says
Jeff Lyons, Costco’s senior vice president
of fresh foods.
Over the years, the Kirkland Signature
brand has grown by embracing this simple formula: Offer high-quality products at
great prices, and let the members decide.
“With Kirkland Signature, the focus is
always on quality,” says Jeff.
The following pieces provide a snapshot of a variety of new products Costco
members can look forward to, and also
offer a look into the care and detail behind
how these products, such as the Kirkland
Signature Comté cheese, are developed.
—T. Foster Jones
The making of a fine
Kirkland Signature cheese
According to local regulations,
cows whose milk is used for
Comté must have fresh, natural
feed: pastures in the summer
and hay harvested from the farm
in the colder months.