What You Need To Know Before Buying Kewpie Mayo At Costco

Costco has amazing deals on all kinds of groceries, especially when it comes to their own in-house Kirkland brand. But one of the most satisfying experiences for any Costco shopper is finding a bargain on a name-brand, gourmet item. Lately, eagle-eyed shoppers have been scooping up Kewpie mayonnaise at the big box warehouse, which is a major cult favorite ingredient among chefs and in-the-know foodies. David Chang, in particular, has said that it is the best mayonnaise in the world, according to Salon, so when it's on the shelves at Costco for a discount, it's a big deal. Before you fill your cart with containers of the fabled mayo, however, you should know that it's not quite the same as the original spread.

Apparently, Kewpie mayonnaise is made to different specifications in Japan versus in the U.S., and the internet seems to agree that the U.S. version isn't as good as the original Japanese version. Unfortunately, the Kewpie sold at Costco is an American-made formula. That might not be a big issue if you've never had the original, but it's probably a good idea to do a side-by-side taste test before you buy a Costco–sized amount of mayonnaise.

The original Kewpie has MSG

If you're wondering, "How different can two bottles of mayonnaise really be," all you need to do is compare the labels of a container of Japanese-made Kewpie and one of its U.S. counterparts. Right away, it'll be obvious that there's a major ingredient missing from the American version of Kewpie: Monosodium glutamate, aka MSG. This non-essential amino acid is what gives a lot of foods their savory, umami flavor, according to Thrillist. While the Kewpie that's imported from Japan has MSG, the U.S. manufacturers chose to stop including it in their formula around 2017, most likely because MSG is a more controversial ingredient in America.

When compared side by side, many people who have bought both versions of the mayonnaise say that the U.S.-made Kewpie has an entirely different profile that doesn't have the bite of the Japanese version.

"Totally different flavor!" said a commenter in one Reddit thread. "Japanese has a tang/kick -brightness to it while USA one is more eggy and blander."

Color and texture

Flavor isn't the only difference mayonnaise eaters have noticed between U.S.- and Japanese-made Kewpie, either. In a TikTok comparing the different versions of Kewpie, @itshelenmelon points out that the colors are obviously different, with the U.S. version appearing much lighter.


kewpie mayo pls notice me 😭 #tastetest #kewpiemayo #mayonnaise #kewpiemayonnaise #japanesefood #japanesemayo #lipsmacking #asiantiktok #kewpie

♬ original sound – itshelenmelon

Other citizen tasters agree and point out that the textures are also different, including one Reddit commenter who said, "The Costco mayo is extremely tangy. Not sure if I'll buy it again. Here in Los Angeles the Costco one is 5.99 and the Japanese one is 7.99. The Japanese one is so rich and creamy and I don't need to use as much as the Costco one."

So while the Costco Kewpie is tempting, and probably still pretty tasty, it's not the original formula that David Chang and other chefs rave about. If you want to get a good price on fancier mayonnaise, the Costco version is still a good price for gourmet mayo. But if you want to experience the real deal and see what all the hype is about, head to your local Asian grocery store like H Mart to find the Kewpie that's imported from Japan.