The Popular Brand Behind Costco's Vanilla Ice Cream

If you're a vanilla ice cream fan, you're not alone. You may even be genetically predisposed to prefer vanilla over other flavors. According to a 2022 YouGov survey, vanilla takes the cake when it comes to the most preferred ice cream flavors among Americans, with 59% of those surveyed saying they like vanilla ice cream and 11% choosing vanilla as their favorite ice cream flavor.

If you're a vanilla ice cream fan and also a Costco shopper, you're probably familiar with Costco's Kirkland Signature Super Premium Vanilla Ice Cream. Per Costco Food Database, the ice cream is sold in a two-half-gallon package, so customers get plenty per purchase. And the "super-premium" designation isn't just a marketing technique. Super-premium is a designation of ice cream quality that notes a high-fat content, high-grade ingredients, and little overrun (the quantity of aeration the ice cream encounters during production).

But did you ever wonder where Costco's Kirkland Signature Super Premium Vanilla Ice Cream comes from? Does Costco have its own dairy farm? The answer is no, but Costco does its homework when it comes to finding quality ingredients. Costco Food Database looked up the plant number noted on the bottom of a tub of Costco ice cream and found that Kirkland ice cream is sourced from Humboldt Creamery located in Humboldt County on the coast of Northern California.

What makes Humboldt Creamery ice cream so good?

Humboldt County has a rich history of dairy farming dating back to the 19th century. Humboldt Creamery claims that its delicious dairy products are produced thanks to the area's climate, with temperatures remaining fairly constant and comfortable, allowing cows to graze freely in green grass pastures all year round.

Former Humboldt Creamery CEO Rich Ghilarducci confirmed to the North Coast Journal Weekly that the creamery is indeed the exclusive ice cream supplier for Costco. While the ice cream is made at a different site, the creamery provides all the ingredients, including milk and sugar. Ghilarducci noted that ice cream made from Humboldt Creamery ingredients is sold in every Costco in the United States as well as some in Mexico, Asia, and Europe. The creamery also supplies the ingredients for the ice cream sold in the Costco food court. "They (Costco) believe the flavor of the milk from Humboldt County is something very special. They want all their ice cream in any of their product lines in the United States to come from milk out of Humboldt Country," Ghilarducci said.