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11 Costco Foods That Don't Taste Like They Used To, According To Reddit

Women shopping at Costco
Women shopping at Costco - Joe Raedle/Getty Images

There's no shortage of shoppers lining up to buy Costco's plethora of baked, shredded, whipped, or frozen goods. Almost 128 million people were card-holding members of the wholesale corporation in 2023, according to Statista -- so it goes without saying that Kirkland's numerous food products litter the shelves of scores of consumer pantries and refrigerators worldwide. With such a wide-spread customer base, any changes (subtle or not) in product supplier, recipe, packaging -- and, of course, taste -- that occur in these popular items are bound to be quickly noticed.

Sure enough, slews of customer declarations that specific celebrated Kirkland snacks, frozen meals, and baked goods now taste different due to definite or suspected product changes exist across the Reddit platform -- and many who were accustomed to the reliability of the flavor of these foods are less than pleased with the alleged moderations. From bakery pastries to savory meats to cooking oils, here are 11 Costco foods that just don't taste the way they used to, according to consumers on Reddit.

Read more: Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping At Costco

The Ciabatta Bread

Artisan rolls from Costco
Artisan rolls from Costco - Costco

Is there anything like a freshly baked, crisp-on-the-outside, warm-and-soft-on-the-inside loaf of bread? We didn't think so. Nothing makes a better vessel for a sandwich or a slab of sweet, spreadable fresh berry jam than a bread roll -- and Costco, coincidentally, has always had consumers covered. It began with a popular product called the Torta Rolls, a pack of individually-sized loaves intended to be the base of any consumer's perfect lunchtime sandwich.

Around six years ago, however, the rectangular Torta rolls were replaced by the Kirkland Signature Artisan Rolls, square-shaped ciabatta morsels that -- according to a plethora of Redditors -- have never quite hit the same as the original product in the way of taste. "Costco used to have Ciabatta bread that was rectangular. When they switched to the square ones they changed the recipe and it was like trying to chew on a Goodyear tire," reads one comment on Reddit. " [...] I used to LOVE that bread and I'm still carrying a grudge at Costco because they ruined it." On a separate Reddit thread -- in which the original poster similarly referred to the new Costco ciabatta rolls as tough -- another like-minded user mourned the bread roll option of the past, claiming, "It used to be good. But this is inedible now." Ouch.

The Fancy Mixed Nuts

The mixed nuts from Costco
The mixed nuts from Costco - Costco

For years, the Kirkland Signature Extra Fancy Salted Mixed Nuts were housed in large plastic tubs all sealed up with a familiar blue lid, waiting to be picked up and purchased by hungry consumers strolling through the aisles of Costco. Recently, however, the wholesaler made a packaging switch for the product -- opting instead for a new, resealable plastic pouch to hold the varied salty nuggets as opposed to the original tubs.

But while a packaging switch might seem a harmless, superficial alteration without the ability to affect the taste of the food within, some consumers on Reddit are claiming otherwise. On one thread titled, "Fancy Salted Mixed Nuts in new bag container -- taste?" users debated and discussed what they've noticed as obvious negative fluctuations to both the taste and quality of the popular product since the change. Some chimed in reporting an overall unpleasant taste, with one Reddit user stating, "I noticed a difference the first time I got the bags. I bought a few more since then just in case it was one bad batch, but they're consistently bad." Another user, who seemed less perturbed by the newer version of the product, admitted that although they felt the overall ratio of cashews did seem to be higher than the previous in-the-tub version, it wasn't necessarily a negative or a positive. "Not a problem," they said, "but different."

The Chocolate Chip Cookies

Kirkland chocolate chunk cookies
Kirkland chocolate chunk cookies - Costco

Few departments within Costco Wholesale are as celebrated as its bakery. The sector that cranks out beloved sheet cakes, savory loaves, and gigantic mouth-watering muffins for days has an extensive fan base -- and this base happens to love its baked Chocolate Chunk Gourmet Cookies. "Hands down the best chocolate chip cookies ever," reads a comment on a Reddit post from a few years back, referencing the sweet, chocolate-filled bakery product. This opinion was echoed by handfuls of responding consumers, clearly evidencing the cookie's popularity.

However, more recent feedback on Costco's popular classic cookie seems to suggest that some consumers may be questioning their loyalty to the wholesaler's tasty delicacy. On a Reddit thread titled "Chocolate chip cookies -- did the recipe change?" the original poster reported that the cookie's popularity was dipping among their presumed coworkers, citing specifically a texture change and a less solid, more crumbly consistency. Responding users confirmed that the poster was not, in fact, alone in their feelings. Not only was extra crumbliness reported, but one user even claimed that the taste -- and the effect the pastry had on their body -- seemed off, as well. "I think they've changed ingredients," the comment reads. "It sounds weird, but they give me really bad heartburn now." If a true change of recipe has indeed occurred, there appears to be no official confirmation by the company as of now -- but as it stands, Reddit remains suspicious.

The Thick Cut Bacon

Kirkland thick cut bacon
Kirkland thick cut bacon - Costco

Most Costco-goers are likely familiar with Kirkland Signature Thick Sliced Bacon, which comes in a two-pack of 1.5-pound stacks ready to be fried up, baked, or smoked to crispy perfection. Recently, however, a wrench has been thrown in the savory, reliable pork strips ... and not a good one, according to Reddit-reporting consumers. Multiple threads have surfaced under Costco's subreddit calling out the product in a negative light, with dissatisfied customers referring to the "new" bacon using words like gamey, gooey, and off.

"I stopped buying it six months ago. Something changed," reads a comment under one of these naysaying Reddit threads. Another user responded in agreement, saying, "Last 2-3 packs I've gotten seem to have far less flavor and something else has been off that I can't quite pinpoint." Some think the strips taste sweeter than before, while others refer to them as having a spoiled flavor; but regardless of the descriptive words used, it seems the overwhelming majority of Costco-shopping Redditors feel the taste of their beloved savory bacon has been altered in an unsatisfactory way. "Complain," said one Reddit user regarding the lacking pork strips. "If people make a case for it they'll change it back, hopefully." We suppose that if the taste of the bacon really has downshifted as much as Reddit proclaims, we can only hope right along with this consumer that Costco takes heed.

The Frozen Cheese Pizzas

Cheese pizzas from Kirkland
Cheese pizzas from Kirkland - Costco

The Kirkland Signature Cheese Pizza product is a box of frozen pizzas ready to be popped in the oven for an easy go-to meal. The pizzas' simple makeup of dough, sauce, and mozzarella makes them particularly susceptible to scrutiny, however -- and according to the product's consumer base on Reddit, suspected changes were made to the product a few years back that caused extreme alterations in both its appearance and taste.

"Frozen pizza quality has changed," posted one dissatisfied customer on Reddit four years ago. "I used to buy the Kirkland frozen 4-pack of cheese pizza regularly. Couple months I noticed a change. The dough is quite different and not as good. The cheese just slides off after one bite and has a bland taste." On another Reddit thread, the photos of two slices were posted side by side -- one taken from an "older" pizza, another from a "new." The alleged older slice displays a fully melted, greater quantity of cheese, while the newer slice contains fewer mozzarella shreds that appear only semi-melted. On both these threads, responding users speculated that the franchise had taken a cheaper, scantier route on ingredients, referring to the newer pizza variation as "terrible." However, some did point out that Costco's frozen pepperoni-style pack is much more appetizing than the current cheese-only product. So, if you're going to pick one to throw in the freezer, you may want to take Reddit's advice and opt for pepperoni in this case.

The Granola Bars

Soft & Chewy granola bars from Costco
Soft & Chewy granola bars from Costco - Costco

"The Kirkland Soft and Chewy Granola Bars are a shadow of their former selves," reads the blatant title of a Reddit thread under the subreddit r/Costco. The user, of course, was referring to the company's pack of 64 chocolate-chip-and-oat-based bars, a popular staple for many lunchbox-packing parents everywhere. "They reformulated them or something recently and there's less oats and more puffy filler thingies. They're super square, harder, and taste like a stale rice crispy treat. These used to be a staple for me [...] I really hope the change is temporary."

Many responding users shared the OP's sentiment, expressing what seemed to be a sense of relief over having found others who had noticed the same things as they had. "Wow, I can't believe this is a common thing. You mean I'm not the only one?" asked one contributing member on the thread. Others described loose chocolate chips that constantly fall to the floor when the wrappers are opened, an off-putting, artificial taste, inconsistencies between boxes, bars that seem remarkably smaller, a level of sweetness that is overpowering -- and even one comment from a user claiming the product causes them gas. Yikes. While many on the confessional thread seemed to speculate that the change may have begun after the COVID-19 pandemic, it's impossible to say for certain. All we can do is eat the ones we've got, hoping that someday, that old-time taste and quality will return to our pantries.

The Rotisserie Chicken

Costco rotisserie for sale
Costco rotisserie for sale - Davslens - davslens.com/Shutterstock

It was about a year ago when bizarre posts started popping up all over Reddit under r/Costco, causing a stir that made headlines on websites such as Today and Bon Appétit. The reason for the buzz? Claims made by consumers declaring Costco's celebrated rotisserie chickens suddenly tasted of chemicals.

"So it's not just me then," reads a comment on one of these online Reddit threads, in which customers communally discuss an odd, chlorine-like taste coming from the pre-cooked poultry. "[...] Such a bargain for an inexpensive protein source but I hesitate to get another one. They used to be so good." While some shoppers were likely holding out hope that a simple bad batch might have been to blame for the bizarre bleachy-tasting chickens being set out under the heat lamps, things don't appear to have changed. In a more recent post titled, "Does the rotisserie chicken taste weird to anyone else?" complaints of the same odd taste continue circulating among eaters. "Ours have like almost some kind of chemical like taste," confesses one user on the Reddit thread. "I don't know if it's from the gas they cook with but it just isn't good. I can't really put my finger on it." Consumer theories abound as to the reason behind the strange, off-putting flavor, including suspected water chilling in chlorine or injections of sodium phosphate, but the result is the same: many Redditors feel the once mouth-watering Costco rotisserie chicken is nowadays anything but.

The Double Chocolate Muffins

Chocolate muffin form Costco
Chocolate muffin form Costco - RF97/Shutterstock

Arguably the most popular product from the Costco bakery is its muffins -- the richest of which is the department's famous Double Chocolate flavor. However, many Reddit users claim that the more recently baked cocoa breakfast treats with the gigantic hunks of chocolate mixed in are not what they used to be.

Reports that Costco's Double Chocolate Muffins taste "different" litter Reddit, with consumers pointing out aspects such as dryness, a fake chocolate taste, or -- the most bizarre claim of all -- that the pastries contain a noticeable banana flavor. "Yeah. I'm not sure why but it's been a thing for the last several years," confirmed a Reddit user recently under r/Costco, "of that they all taste like banana." The disappointment in the "new" taste of the muffins extends to other platforms, as well. One commenter on Costcuisine shared that the double chocolates are "definitely really different now" and have ultimately been reduced to a product akin to "dry chocolate cake."

While we can't pinpoint the reason behind every mysterious change-of-taste plaguing the new variants, one alleged employee on Reddit shed a bit of light on the potential cause of one of them. "Recipe is the same," they explained, "but the chocolate chunks we use are from a different vendor." As to the lingering banana aftertaste, however? Some suspect it might be a new additive, but this is all speculation. We guess we'll have to wait and see when (or if) the truth comes out.

The Olive Oil

Kirkland Extra Virgin olive oil
Kirkland Extra Virgin olive oil - Costco

The olive oil from Costco is any home cook's dream. Sold in massive 2-liter plastic containers, Kirkland Signature's Extra Virgin Italian Olive Oil is a product that won't run out anytime soon -- making it a valuable staple for whipping up countless loaves or sautéing large amounts of veggies. However, given that the bottle contains such a huge amount of oil, the taste of the product is an extremely important aspect in a consumer's decision of purchasing it. Unfortunately, according to many consumers on Reddit, that very important taste is decidedly different -- and lacking -- in recent years.

Around five years ago, claimed a poster, Costco changed its olive oil recipe. The product allegedly went from being cold pressed to cold extracted -- and since this implementation, things haven't tasted the same. A bitterness took over the concoction that wasn't there before, users communally voiced on a Reddit thread -- but the how, why, and whether or not the change should be considered a negative thing are aspects on which shoppers appear split. "I did notice that it was more bitter, but supposedly bitterness is one of the indications of high quality olive oil," suggested one user. " [...] I did switch to another brand that they were selling that comes in a glass bottle instead of plastic and liked it better than the Kirkland one. I wonder if the plastic bottle is actually leaching into the oil and making it bitter."

The Croissants

Croissants from Costco
Croissants from Costco - Costco

It was a highly publicized change in the Costco bakery universe -- the time when the company's famous croissants were changed from their historical crescent shape into that of a straight, diamond-like one. As you might imagine, this controversial conversion came with a slew of opinions from consumers, some of whom accepted and praised the change, others who disapproved of the alteration. Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum of opinion regarding the two croissant variants, it generally cannot be denied that the Costco croissants, while adopting a brand new look, also obtained a brand new taste.

The general consensus shared by reviewing Redditors is that the new, straight Costco croissant variants seem to be less buttery than the crescents of old. "They don't butter them like they used to," shared one Reddit user. "Before when u baked it, there was almost a pool of butter." Others point out that the new pastry recipe maintains more of a salty taste that is decidedly less sweet than the old. And while there are certainly some consumers who admit to preferring this change-up, there are still a large majority of Redditors who mourn the moon-shaped croissants of the past. "They used to be top-notch quality," says one nostalgic Reddit consumer. "Now they're no better than the grocery store brand. I have to get my fix elsewhere."

The Bagels

Kirkland plan bagels
Kirkland plan bagels - Costco

There's nothing quite like a great-tasting bagel spread with cream cheese to start your morning off right, and with Costco's two packs of bagels from the bakery, you're guaranteed a solid 12 mornings of bagel bliss after every shopping trip. With five different flavors to choose from -- plain, Parmesan, everything, cinnamon raisin, or sesame seed -- it seems there's no downside to snatching up the bags of bagels from the wholesaler's bakery department ... except, perhaps, a noticeable dip in deliciousness.

Unfortunately, this is exactly what many Reddit users are reporting after a major change was implemented across Costco bakeries regarding the popular bagels. "Did they change the bagel recipe?" reads the title of a post under r/Costco, on which a subpar, baking-soda-heavy taste was described by the original poster. Many responding users hopped on to provide the reason behind the noticeable change in flavor: while Einstein Bros. Bagel company had been the original producers of the Kirkland bagels, Kirkland had taken back control of the production -- leaving the aisles filled with what many are considering to be shells of the former, superior rounds. "They've been bad since they switched from Einstein bagels," reads a comment on another Reddit thread discussing the change. "Very disappointing." Regardless, it appears that this exclusively Kirkland-made bagel take is, for the time being, here to stay. Will you continue relying on Costco for your cream cheese vessels? Only you can decide.

Methodology

Costco cart
Costco cart - PenguinLens/Shutterstock

To get the scoop on which Costco products are tasting different than they once did, we scoured the discussion platform, Reddit, and performed a thorough examination of the opinions of multiple dozens of reviewing consumers. This, in addition to the writer's own taste experiences as applicable, produced what we believe to be a well-rounded and accurate report. However, it is important to note that some of these purported taste changes are based solely on collective consumer opinion, and have not been confirmed or denied by the Costco corporation itself.

Read the original article on Mashed.