The Iconic Brand Behind Costco's Chocolate-Covered Nuts

The iconic brand behind Costco's chocolate-covered nuts

The nuts are out of the bag, and Costco's efforts are, indeed, sustainable.

Let's backtrack for a moment: The brand behind Kirkland's chocolate covered almonds is the Blommer Chocolate Company. This revelation came to light through the 2013 issue of The Costco Connection magazine. Costco collaborated with Blommer Chocolate Company to establish a partnership with local farmers, aiming to create a more sustainable product. Recognizing that 70% of the world's cocoa originates from West Africa, Costco understood the necessity of reevaluating cocoa production methods.

Additionally, Blommer Chocolate Company sustainably sources its cocoa from the Ivory Coast, with a program they developed with Costco. The program has formed up of 15 cocoa bean farming cooperatives, including over 5,000 farmers. With a strong focus on traceability, the program has a detailed process to track the origins of each shipment. You can find Blommer Chocolate Company mixing up everything from chocolate-covered nuts to chocolate liqueur and even cocoa butter (which is vegetable fat made from cocoa beans, and can be used in anything from lotions to baking and even cooking).

In starting and promoting these cooperatives, Costco emerges as an early trailblazer in challenging conventional notions of sustainability. This groundbreaking approach paves the way for more ecologically friendly methods of cocoa production, such as shade-grown agroforestry. This technique involves cultivating cocoa amidst diverse trees and crops, reducing deforestation. All that makes this our favorite nut we've cracked yet.

The long legacy of Blommer Chocolate Company

You've got to hand it to the folks who started Blommer Chocolate — its success is hard earned and its goals are full of heart. The family-operated business started as a single factory in Chicago in 1939, and with its success came national expansion to larger metropolitan areas like Los Angeles and San Francisco. After opening a few other plants around the States, the company's founder, Henry Blommer, was given the distinguished Kettle Award. In the eyes of the U.S. confectionery industry, this award is the highest honor one can receive, and this was the first time a supplier had ever received it. Following this major achievement, the company would go on to release new, high-quality chocolate and cocoa products, steadily becoming the largest manufacturer of its kind in North America. When you're sustainably processing 5% of the entire world's chocolate, it's hard to go unnoticed.

As the years went on, Blommer Chocolate saw even more awards and international recognition come its way, and was named a "Sustainable Standard-Setter" by the Rainforest Alliance. The company worked closely with over 50,000 cocoa farmers from all corners of the globe, improving their business practices and working toward better quality assurance training, which increased farmers' production rates by nearly 30%. Blommer's laser-focused efforts were not only meant to increase its own worldwide notoriety as a leader in the industry, but also to benefit the skills, incomes, and lives of participating farmers. It seems its famous world-class sweets aren't the only thing that's sweet about Blommer Chocolate Company.

Why does Kirkland use private labeling?

Costco's Kirkland brand utilizes private labeling for several reasons that contribute to its business strategy and customer value proposition. Private labeling allows Costco to offer high-quality products under its own brand name, which often allows for better control over the manufacturing and sourcing process. This enables them to maintain strict quality standards while offering products at competitive prices.

Additionally, using private brands can help Costco differentiate itself from competitors, and foster customer loyalty and trust. Especially when working with sustainable companies like Blommer Chocolate, Costco puts its best foot forward by participating in programs aimed at creating positive change not only in the retail space, but along the lengthy supply chain as well. Some of these projects include creating better health centers, water pumps, and even accessible primary schools in rural areas with high cocoa production. By offering products exclusively under the Kirkland brand, Costco can create a unique shopping experience and enhance its value proposition, ultimately benefiting both the company and its customers. Costco's branding inspires such loyalty, they even have a cult following, with #CostcoFinds receiving millions of views on TikTok.

Costco's Kirkland Signature brand has become a multi-billion-dollar business, and many of Kirkland's items are actually brand names in disguise. According to CNN, Kirkland private brands sell for about 20% less when bought at Costco. With deals that good, we'd try to keep it a secret too. If you want to know more Costco's Kirkland brand, we've got you covered.