5 Costco Products You Should Never Buy, According to Our Editors

We love Costco as much as the next person, but these items are a skip.

It's no secret that we love Costco here at Allrecipes. You'd be hard-pressed to find better deals on some of our favorite products—especially when you shop the monthly sales—and Costco's Kirkland Signature brand makes some pretty spectacular food and clothes! It's genuinely hard to find products we would not recommend buying at Costco (besides the rotisserie chickens, lately).

Still, we asked our Costco-fanatic editors to weigh in, pored over fan Reddit threads to confirm our sentiments, and came out with five products you're better off leaving on Costco shelves. From less-than-perfect produce to spices that are bound to get stale, here are the top five products we do not recommend at Costco.

costco wholesale logo on a yellow and lime background

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01 of 05


A bulk-pack of soda at Costco might seem like a no-brainer buy, but our editors suspected that soft drinks were actually a better deal at local supermarkets and grocery chains. The reason? Soda is one of the most frequently discounted items at grocery stores.

Our suspicions were confirmed on one Reddit thread. One commenter wrote, "I can always find better deals on pop at the grocery store," to which another replied, "Yep, it a loss leader at almost every grocery chain." Loss leaders are items that grocery stores sell at a loss in order to get customers in the door, with the hopes that they will buy other items on their trip.

This is a good reminder to always check the unit price, but know that you're likely better off stocking up on soda when it goes on sale at your local store.

02 of 05

Spices & Seasonings

If you are checking the unit price, you're likely not going to find a better deal on spices and seasonings than you will at Costco. However, unless you're running a restaurant or a small commissary kitchen, the likelihood that they'll go stale before you use them up is high.

One of our editors who bakes almost every week said she bought a Costco pack of cinnamon, thinking she'd go through it in a matter of months. "It lasted me over four years, and came with me to five different apartments," she admits.

Spices don't spoil, but they do dull over time, and ground spices go stale much quicker than whole. So, if you do decide to shop the seasoning aisle at Costco, opt for whole spices over ground.

03 of 05

Condiments & Dressings

The same thing goes for condiments, salad dressings, and other jarred items. Unless you've got a particularly robust social calendar or a string of barbecues coming up, you probably don't need that 2-pack of jumbo-sized condiments.

Yes, the unopened condiments are shelf-stable, but once open, they can take up precious real estate in your fridge door. That goes for ketchup, mustard, and mayo, but also salad dressings, olives, and even pickles. One editor on our team confessed, "I love olives, so I thought we would use them right up, but it was just an unfathomable amount of olives."

Of course, some items can be frozen, but most will just sit partially-used in your fridge until they spoil.

04 of 05

Produce (Especially Pre-Cut)

We know this one is controversial. Many people swear by Costco's produce, and our editors agree that it's generally great, albeit the quality can vary quite a bit from state from state. But there are some items we would universally avoid for a variety of reasons.

The first is pre-cut produce, especially fruit. In general, pre-cut produce is not our editors' preference, as it tends to be more expensive and bear a higher risk for cross-contamination. But our editors—and many customers on the Reddit threads—noted that Costco's pre-cut fruit seems to be particularly iffy, with one Reddit user writing, "Most of them were either under-ripe and tasteless. Big letdown." Costco has an amazing selection of frozen fruit, so we recommend sticking to those if convenience is your aim.

As far as other produce goes, it can be hit or miss, and we try to stick to a rule of, "only buy it if you think you can consume at least 3/4 in the following 3-4 days." In general, we try to avoid produce that is less shelf-stable. Items like berries, avocados, and bananas seem to either mold quickly or go from too green to past-ripe with little-to-no edible window in the middle. Plus, unless we've got a party coming up that calls for guacamole, eating 8 avocados in the span of a few days is not as easy as it would seem, and they're too expensive to justify wasting any.

Bagged produce is another skip for our editors, especially if you can't see all of the items in the bag. With so many pieces in one bag, the risk is high for getting at least one moldy piece that will spoil the whole batch. If we haven't convinced you, maybe this horrifying Reddit comment will, "Costco potatoes, always has at least one rotten one in there. Last time I didn’t check and within 5 days my kitchen stank and there was a puddle outside the potato bag. Looked inside and there were maggots…."

05 of 05

Assorted Snack Packs

Are the assorted snack packs a great deal, especially when compared to those at the grocery store? Undoubtedly. Some version of flavor assortment packs—whether yogurt, chips, granola bars, or another snack—go on sale nearly every month at Costco. But our editors warn: don't be tempted.

Unless you are absolutely certain your family loves every flavor in the pack, it's not worth it. There is bound to be one flavor or variety in the pack that's either a 'not my favorite,' or worse, an absolute no-go for your family, especially if you have little ones or picky eaters. As one Reddit user puts it, "Inevitably, [there is] one flavor everyone loves, one that is tolerated, and nobody wants the third so it gets tossed or taken into the office."

It might not seem like that many will be wasted (Hey, we still like the other three flavors!), but you could end up avoiding anywhere from 1/3 to 1/5 of the pack, which is wasteful and not cost-efficient. You're better off buying what you like, and only what you like.

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