What Sets Costco Extra Virgin Olive Oil Apart From Other Brands

When you're standing in front of half a dozen brands of olive oil at the grocery store, how do you choose which one to buy? If you favor cost and efficiency above all else, perhaps you base your decision on size. If you're a conscious consumer who wants to invest in sustainable materials, maybe you're drawn to packaging, even if it means compromising on the product inside. If you're most concerned about taste, ethical labor, and authenticity, you probably study the fine print on the labels.

That's where the term "extra virgin olive oil," or EVOO, comes into play. In a nutshell, per Food Network contributor Fraya Berg, extra virgin olive oil is unrefined, meaning it's "never heated or processed with chemicals." High quality often comes with a high price, which is why EVOO tends to be more expensive than other varieties. When Ina Garten tells you to use "good olive oil" in her recipes (she's been drizzling Olio Santo for 20 years, per a Bon Appétit interview), she's telling you to spring for EVOO.

Tracking down the good stuff doesn't require a trip to Italy, but it's not always a simple task. As luck would have it, a TikTok video posted by @FlavCity extols the virtues of a gem sold at Costco.

Kirkland Signature gets points for price, size, and quality

In a TikTok video filmed in Costco's cooking oil aisle, @FlavCity cites a Forbes article about reportedly mislabeled, lower-quality olive oils. Brightland explains that true extra virgin olive oil is low in acid and "free of flavor and odor defects." And according to @FlavCity, Kirkland Signature extra virgin olive oil fits the bill.

Holding a bottle of Kirkland Signature 100% Italian extra virgin olive oil, @FlavCity calls the Costco-brand product "one of the cleanest on the market." He dotes on its size and price ($14.49 for two liters), which is both less expensive and significantly higher in volume than other good-quality olive oils. When Tom Hanks' character in "You've Got Mail" speaks of the "10-gallon vat of olive oil for $3.99 that won't even fit into your kitchen cabinet," he may as well have been talking about this price-club sleeper. 

@FlavCity gives a mark for the plastic packaging but admits that "if it's cold-filled in plastic and kept out of sunlight, I'm totally fine with that."

Is that EVOO all it claims to be?

It's safe to say that all olive oil contains some traces of olives, but Sarasota Magazine says some brands will try to get away with an EVOO label when, in fact, they mix their product with lower-quality oils to cut costs. @FlavCity echoed that point in his TikTok video, noting that low-quality olive oil brands will reportedly jump the fence by "deodorizing" oil made from rancid olives. (These claims have been disputed, however, with 2015 research published in the Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society finding a much lower number of fraudulent bottles than had been previously reported.)

And in 2014, Nadia Antonelli Franceschini, owner of Italian olive oil company Cuore Verde, told The New York Times that some olive oils may claim to be Italian when, in reality, they have no ties to Italy. But as @FlavCity pointed out on TikTok, Kirkland Signature's olive oil has a certification from Bureau Veritas and has been confirmed to be "100% Italian," per OliveOil.com.