Costco Shoppers May Want To Choose Their Kirkland Brand Cashews Wisely

For food enthusiasts who love saving money and buying in bulk, Costco is the place to shop. The benefits of a Costco membership are evident in its user-friendly warehouse, where hundreds of items are offered at competitive prices, partly thanks to the ever-present Kirkland Signature brand. However, with several cashew varieties under the brand's private label available, deciding which is the best in terms of flavor and value can be a challenge.

Excluding snack-size pouches in mixed variety packs, Costco sells at least three different types of cashews, depending on the store's location. Choices include Kirkland Signature butter toffee cashews, Fancy cashews (available in salted and unsalted varieties), organic cashews, and, if you're fortunate enough to find them, Black Label cashews.

Setting aside organic and flavored cashews, it's worth exploring the distinctions between Costco's Kirkland Black Label cashews and their Fancy counterparts. Costco sells Fancy cashews in 40-ounce plastic bags, while Black Label cashews, when available, are presented in 38-ounce glass jars. Apart from differences in packaging and availability, the Black Label variety is also more expensive. Though both types list the same three ingredients, some members believe there's a difference in flavor. Which variety is superior? Costco members have expressed their views on this in a Reddit thread, with many concluding that much of the Black Label variety's allure might be due to the placebo effect, suggesting that the Fancy variety is an equally tasty and more readily available option.

Do Kirkland's Black Label cashews really taste better?

Kirkland Signature offers a range of nutritious foods, and its cashews are notable for being not only rich in protein, but also high in vitamins like copper and magnesium. Some Costco members might find good value in Kirkland's Fancy labeled cashews, priced at roughly $15 for a 40-ounce bag, while many cashew enthusiasts are willing to pay around $18 for a 38-ounce glass jar of the Black Label variety. This preference might be due to the Black Label cashews being purportedly W180 cashews, a specific strain known for larger — and arguably more flavorful — nuts. Interestingly, both the Black Label and Fancy varieties list only cashews, peanut oil, and sea salt as ingredients. Despite this, Costco members have engaged in debates on Reddit about whether there's a noticeable taste difference between the two varieties.

User @newzack wrote that the Black Label cashews were "[m]ore creamy or buttery, and they don't have that slight tangy flavor of pesticide on them." In response, user @Slingintupe commented, "It's 99% placebo for sure," suggesting that the glass packaging of the Black Label cashews makes them more appealing to customers. 

Kirkland's Black Label cashews aren't always available

The reason why Costco's Kirkland signature products are so cheap is largely due to the company's direct dealings with independent farms and suppliers, which reduces supply chain costs. Although Costco sources its cashews from various countries to maintain year-round availability, some varieties are not always available throughout the year. In July 2023, Reddit user @bigkutta — who described the Black Label cashews as "the best cashews I've ever eaten" — could not find the coveted variety in stores, and inquired about when they'd return. User @RockyMountainHigh- responded that these upscale nuts are typically available only during the holiday season.

As Thanksgiving and Christmas draw near, those looking to enhance their cashew collection might still want to splurge on Costco Kirkland's Black Label cashews. However, this elusive variety is not available at all locations, and despite being listed as a new product on the Costco website, they are not available for direct purchase from the retailer. If you're unable to find these sought-after snacks, the Fancy variety from Costco is still an excellent — and more reliably available — choice. With both varieties bearing the Kirkland Signature label, you can be confident that your taste buds will be satisfied.