38 The Costco Connection SEPTEMBER 2017
COSTCO INTRODUCED Kirkland Signature™ products ;; years ago. The idea
was to create a line of signature products,
and Kirkland, Washington, was where the
company had its home base at that time.
Why invest in our own line of pri-
vate-label products? There are several
reasons, explains Craig Jelinek, Costco
president and chief executive officer.
With Kirkland Signature, Costco can:
• Develop popular items with wide
appeal for members.
• Control the quality of the product.
• Drive down prices on national brands.
• Control the packaging.
• Achieve pallet efficiencies. For example, when the jars containing Kirkland
Signature cashews were changed from
round to square, the number of jars that
could fit on a pallet increased from ;;; to
;;;, saving ;;; truckloads per year.
That’s what Kirkland Signature products at Costco are all about. In cases where
the right product isn’t available—either
because it hasn’t been created yet or
because it doesn’t represent a 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.
“We will always be known for name
brands such as Michelin, Samsung and
How Kirkland Signature brings
quality to private-label
The value in a name
Crest,” Jelinek says, “but we will continue
to augment our product offerings with our
own Kirkland Signature items.”
“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,” adds Ron Vachris, exec-
utive vice president and chief operating
officer of merchandising for Costco. “We
know we have met this goal when con-
sumer groups consistently rate us highly
compared with national brands.”
Another rule is continuous improve-
ment. “We’re constantly looking at Kirk-
land Signature items, revisiting them with
an eye to making them better,” says Jeff
Lyons, Costco’s senior vice president of
In the traditional marketplace, brands
are built over the years with expensive
advertising campaigns built around cornerstone products. In contrast, the Kirkland Signature brand has grown using this
formula: Offer high-quality products at
great prices, and let the members decide.
“With Kirkland Signature, the focus is
always on quality,” says Lyons. In other
words, the perfect product, from scratch.
The items profiled on the following
pages are just a sample of the hundreds of
Kirkland Signature products you’ll find
at Costco and on Costco.com.
—T. Foster Jones
SPECIAL SEC TION
COSTCO’S 40-OUNCE jars of Kirkland
Signature Mixed Nuts have been a huge
hit with members for years. This delicious
mix of high-quality cashews, almonds,
pecans, Brazil nuts, blanched almonds
and macadamia nuts has been one of the
candy/snack department’s highest-selling
items since its introduction.
“Based on feedback from members,
we knew that members were eager to
add the convenience of a snack pack to
the mixed-nuts formula,” says assistant
buyer Casey Rasmussen.
“The new Kirkland Signature Mixed
Nuts Snack Packs are great for busy parents putting together kids’ lunches, active
outdoorsy types and just about anyone
on the go who wants a tasty snack,” she
adds. (Each pouch is individually labeled,
so retail resale is also an option.)
The mix of nuts in the snack packs is
slightly different than the mixture in the
40-ounce jars—simplifying the mix
allowed a better ratio of nuts in each
individual snack pack. Each 1.6-ounce
pack in the 21-count box contains
cashews, almonds, pecans and macadamia
nuts, providing 300 calories, 8 grams of
protein, 3 grams of saturated fat and 3
grams of dietary fiber, with zero cholesterol
and zero trans fat. Crunchy, tasty and convenient—who could ask for more?
Item #1123283. Available in the warehouse.—TFJ
MIXED NUTS SNACK PACKS