Real Food and Green Living Items at Costco

Real Food & Natural Living Items at CostcoI haven’t written about Costco for a while, so I thought it was time for another post on what I like to buy at Costco. Although 95% of the food items at Costco are things that I would never buy, they do have a big enough selection of high-quality gems to make it worth my time and money to be a Costco member.

Why Costco?

I am a big proponent of local food. I’ve love to buy most of our food locally, but that’s just not realistic or practical for us right now. Finding great deals on quality food at Costco allows me to put more money into those things that I really, really value, like raw milk, local grass-fed beef, local pastured chicken and pork, pastured eggs, and organic CSA produce (in the summer and early fall).

In terms of supporting big corporations, I also feel better about taking my business to Costco because, according to this article, they treat their employees well. This is not, of course, true of all large corporations (i.e. Walmart).

Awesome Real Food Items at Costco

I have found the following items at my local Costco in Superior, Colorado. Not all items are available at all times, and selection definitely does seem to vary from store to store. I’ve heard from other people that you can request that your local Costco start carrying a particular item–although I have not actually done this myself so am not sure how it works.

The following items are all excellent real foods that I’ve found for great prices at Costco:

  • Virgin coconut oil
  • Grass-fed butter
  • Grass-fed cheeses
  • Organic sugar (for water kefir and kombucha)
  • Organic fresh produce like strawberries, spinach, carrots, lettuce 
  • Organic frozen produce like green beans, corn, broccoli, berries, peas
  • Frozen wild fish like hake and ono
  • Canned wild fish like tuna, salmon and sardines
  • Raw honey
  • Organic virgin olive oil
  • Organic dried fruit without added sugar or preservatives like apples, raisins, figs
  • Organic white rice

Pretty Good Convenience Items at Costco

Costco can also be a good resource for those types of convenience foods that can make your life easier. I wouldn’t put these squarely in the category of “real foods,” since most of them have some sort of compromise factor associated with them (such as unsoaked grains/nuts, conventional produce/dairy, or non-pasture-raised meats), but I still think they can be part of a healthy diet. It’s up to you, of course, to decide how much or how little of these foods you’re comfortable buying–but if you are going to buy them, you might as well get them for a good price. :)

  • Gluten-free pasta
  • Preservative-free condiments like green chili sauce, ketchup, salsa
  • Quality (though not organic) cheeses
  • Organic chicken and ground beef
  • Organic peanut butter (although I have not seen this for a while)
  • Organic tortilla chips
  • Organic lemon juice

Green Living Items at Costco

Costco is also a great place to stock up on those bulk items that you tend to go through a lot of in a green/natural living lifestyle. As long as you can find room to store everything, you’ll usually save a lot of money buying these things in bulk. I have bought the following items:

  • Glass food storage containers (like these)
  • Giant jugs of white vinegar 
  • Giant bags of baking soda
  • Epsom salts
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Compostable food waste bags (like these)
  • Eco-friendly dish soap

A Few Tips About Shopping at Costco

If you live in a less congested area, you may be able to significantly streamline your Costco shopping experience by figuring out when the store tends to be the least busy. Jesse and I like to shop on weekday nights, an hour or two before Costco closes, because our local Costco is pretty much deserted at that time so we can zip around the store really quickly. (If you live in a densely populated area, however, your Costco may be super busy at all times.)

Costco is constantly adding new items, so I recommend doing a detailed walk-through every few months to make sure you’re not missing out on any new great deals.

If you live in a small space, don’t assume that you can’t shop at Costco. We’ve bought in bulk for most of the time that we’ve lived in Colorado, even though we spent three years of that time living in a 600 square foot apartment. Check out my tips on food storage in small spaces if you need some ideas for how to store your bulk purchases.

Do you shop at Costco? 

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STANDARD FTC DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please note, I only ever endorse products that are in alignment with Whole Natural Life’s ideals and I believe would be of value to my readers.

23 Responses to Real Food and Green Living Items at Costco

  1. Meghan,
    My son practices sled hockey an hour away from home, but less than 10 minutes away from the closest Costco in my region. Therefore, yes I do shop at Costco nearly weekly from September to April during the hockey season. In fact, I just had to buy my first non-Costco jug of vinegar since I stocked up during the last practice. I also love their sliced cheeses, frozen wild caught salmon, giant vats of hummus, giant bags of Pita chips . . . oh, and flea and tick prevention for the dog!
    Kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts recently posted..Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sunflower Seeds and Coconut and Sled HockeyMy Profile

  2. JEANMARIE TODD says:

    I shop at Costco. I like to pick up two jugs of white vinegar for less than the price of one at the grocery store, giant bags of baking soda, occasionally some produce (there are only two of us so we usually can’t use the amounts you have to get), and I’ve bought clothing there, too.

  3. Stephanie says:

    They also have premade pesto. It’s not something I normally buy but it’s all whole food ingredients and I couldn’t find enough organic basil that actually looked good. Also, the cage free, organic eggs are a compromise for me since I can’t seem to find a local farmer. Two dozen for 6.59 but I hate that they’re sold in plastic cartons.

  4. Julia says:

    I also love their grain free dog (I don’t know about Cat) food that is sweet potatoes and meat mostly. It is a REALLY good price too.

  5. Judy says:

    I agree with Stephanie about the eggs. A compromise but better than most.

    I asked at my Costco about the grass-fed butter & cheeses but they didn’t have. What are the brand names? They figured it was probably due to your location. I’m in Washington state. Thank you!

    • eema.gray says:

      For cheese, you really have to read labels. I have two in my city and the cheese selection varies wildly between the two. European imports are generally grass fed, even though they won’t be labeled that way, because the farming style is different across the pond and mass dairy operations like here in the states much less common. Also, with the european imports, it’s reasonably likely you’ll be able to find cheese made from raw milk. YUM

  6. eema.gray says:

    OMG, they sell epsom salts at costco? I’ve been piddling around with 6 lb bags every 2 weeks from walgrens and getting annoyed, LOL. Must remember to into H&B next time I’m there and look. Apart from the honey, your shopping pic looks almost identical to mine (I buy honey from a local apiary). Anxiously waiting for the first whole wild salmon of the year to show up in a few weeks. :-)

  7. Diana says:

    Good practical, useful information. I really appreciate your post.thx

  8. Annalicia says:

    No Costcos in my area :( Anyone know if Sam’s Club has the majority of the above products as well? Thanks so much!

    • Susanne says:

      Sam’s Club belongs to the evil empire of Walmart. No way I will ever set a foot in that store.

      Sorry, I know my rant did not answer your question :-)

  9. Jessica says:

    YES! I love shopping at Costco. We make our Executive membership worth it. I get coconut oil, honey, coconut sugar, maple syrup, steel cut oats, almond butter, baking soda, and more. Next trip some big bags of nuts and dried fruit are on the list.

  10. Kris says:

    My costco just started carrying avocado oil from a company called Chosen Foods. Its not organic, but its the prefect oil for stir-fry or bbqing when coconut oil or olive start smoking (which is bad!).

  11. Katherine says:

    I can’t say enough about how much I love Kerrygold products. I get them from Costco regularly. I also get their whole organic chickens. It isn’t local, but it is at a great price that I can afford. I also get organic nut butters, dried fruit, baking soda and other odds and ends. This is our first year with a membership so we are going to see if it makes a difference in our budget in the end. So far, I really like it.

  12. Courtney says:

    We moved to the wilderness and I miss my Costco! And I’m pregnant so I just might cry…
    Courtney recently posted..Kheer Recipe – Rice Pudding (Dairy-free)My Profile

  13. Kelli says:

    I love the organic selection at Costco! My 3 year old eats vats of ketchup, so we can get 2 44 oz bottles of organic ketchup for about $8, whereas a 12oz bottle of the same brand at our local natural goods store is nearly $4. The organic beef and chicken are a great deal and I buy some now and then when I run out of our local meat co-op’s products and I need to make it to the next order. My store also has 2 brands of organic chicken stock, organic pasta (6 1-lb bags for $7.99!), organic pasta sauce, and more. I work 12 or more hours a day most of the year, so it’s nice to have a few staples on hand for when there’s just no time for homemade – beats a drive thru any day!

  14. Lisa R. says:

    We hadn’t been in awhile, but this month I accompanied my husband and scoured the place for organics. He usually goes alone and doesnt have quite the quick scanning eye that do. We were very surprised. We don’t have any grass-fed items at ours, but, otherwise, we had a great cart full of organics! Woo hoo!

  15. Pamela says:

    Wow! I wish my Costco carried as much organics/grass fed as yours!! I LOVE Costco, but unfortunately, not enough people support organics where I live (Brandon, FL), so the stores here do not carry as much. Even if they try, they discontinue due to no movement… :-( I have to travel almost an hour each way to WholeFoods to stock up on my organic foods…..

  16. Brenda says:

    Wow! Costco has a great selection of organic things that I definitely do not find at their competitor. I think I am going to consider opening a Costco account. Thanks for the info.

  17. Allison says:

    One of the things I always seem to be purchasing at Costco is organic quinoa. Much better price than anywhere else.

  18. Thank you so much for this wonderful post! I’ve been researching whether it makes sense for our family to join Costco, and we have decided to take the plunge at least in part due to what you wrote. I will certainly be using this post to make my grocery list. FYI, since you included frozen berries, I thought you and other readers would be interested in their recent linkage to Hep. A: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/04/organic-antioxidant-blend-recall-hepatitis-a-costco-frozen-berry_n_3383735.html
    Justine @ The Lone Home Ranger recently posted..self-analysis is probably on the list somewhereMy Profile

  19. I used to shop at Costco. It’s a great deal if I am saying because under one roof I got all basic necessary grocery things which I needed. I also got membership at Costco and after having it I got some concession during purchasing. The quality of food items and any items is great and organic which is good for health. Thanks for sharing with us.

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