The Truth About Costco's Acai Bowl

If you haven't had an acai bowl yet, then you had better get with the program because you're missing out on what Forbes described as one of the fastest-growing food trends of 2019. Never mind that it's now 2020 with new food trends on the way — acai bowls are still really popular, and even if you don't happen to live in the U.S. mecca of acai bowls — California — you can probably still get one at your nearest Costco (via Metro). 

Let's back up a second. If you're wondering what exactly an acai bowl is, basically, it's a fruit smoothie in a bowl with some other stuff like granola and diced banana or strawberries thrown in. A spoon, instead of a straw, is the utensil of choice here. While acai bowls have the reputation of being a healthy go-to breakfast, not all acai bowls are created equal.  

The bowls have a lot of sugar in them

Compared to Vitality Bowl's prices where a medium acai bowl might set you back more than $10, it's hard to argue with Costco's cheap $4.99 deal (via Well and Good). While Costco is great for buying blue jeans and batteries, there are a few things you should know before loading up on acai bowls at the food court. 

When asked about the bowl's nutritional value, Costco told Women's Health in October 2019 that "management has no comment at this time." Okay? What is known, though, is that as far as the desserts on their food court menu go, it's the lowest in sugar. That's right — according to one Costco food court manager, the acai bowl is considered a dessert. At around 41 grams of sugar, the Costco acai bowl has slightly more sugar than the 39 grams in a 12 ounce can of Coke (via Coca-Cola).

"They tend to provide a lot of carbohydrates and larger servings of fruit than someone would eat in solid form in a single sitting, but contain minimal protein," registered dietitian Jessica Cording said. Well, that's not exactly a ringing endorsement for the bowl's nutrition. 

Reviews for the bowls have been mixed

It's not all bad news when it comes to Costco's acai bowl. As Business Insider pointed out in their tasting of the bowl, the fruit tasted fresh and the granola and banana chips were quite delicious. Unfortunately, that's sorta where the good news ends. The reviewer also described the acai smoothie part of the item as lacking much flavor other than sugar, and a simple search for it on Twitter yields similar views. 

"The Costco acai bowl tastes like lush bath bombs and regret," said one person. "Costco's wannabe acai bowl is trash," added another. Some reviewers, however, praised the bowl and said what it lacked in Instagram beauty, it made up for in taste (via Brit+Co).

We should also mention that the acai bowl made its Costco food court debut around the same time the retail chain's beloved Polish dog got the ax. Perhaps in 2020, Costco can rework its acai bowl to actually be a little bit healthier and bring back the Polish dog? That would certainly be a win-win.