The Real Reason Costco Changed Its Croissants

Croissants are simply a thing of joy and wonder. All of the rich layers add up to be one delicious pastry, especially when the croissant is warm and fresh out of the oven. Bonus points if you've got butter or jam handy, to really put the experience over the top. For many years, Costco members enjoyed croissants with the traditional crescent shape and rounded ends. That is until recently. Costco has made a change to its croissants, and people have most definitely noticed (via Reddit).

The new Costco croissants are no longer rounded, but straight in shape. According to The New Yorker, a similar change occurred at Tesco supermarkets in Europe. The change to the shape could have occurred because British customers preferred straight croissants to spread on jam and other condiments more easily. Or, perhaps it's due to machines being able to make straight croissants more easily, rather than true to the namesake crescent-shaped ones.

Either way, it seems Costco croissants in particular are much improved after this adjustment, if you ask a bakery employee, anyway.

Croissant shape matters at Costco and beyond

Though some have expressed a longing for the old croissants, a Costco bakery employee has illuminated the masses via Reddit as to why customers should be happy about the change. As it turns out, the new croissants are actually higher quality than the old iteration. Though the price has not increased, the new straight croissants are made with all butter, instead of oil as a main ingredient. The Redditor explained their resistance to change, but ultimately realized it was a better recipe.

"When we first made the change from round to straight I was against it. I thought it was an unnecessary change. I even complained about it in this subreddit! What I didn't realize is that the current croissants (the straight ones) are superior and better tasting than the old round ones. The round ones were a cheaper version of a croissant and used lots of oil in addition to some butter. True croissants are made with ALL BUTTER. The straight ones are 100 percent all butter croissants. Side by side, there's no comparison. The straight ones taste and texture is better. So the price didn't change, but the quality of product actually improved," they said.

Why butter makes Costco croissants better

There are certainly some differences between butter and other alternative fats in croissants. While margarine and butter both contain roughly 80 percent fat and 16 percent water, there are two primary reasons butter is, well, better (via Diffen). The flavor and melting properties of butter are what makes it a simply superior ingredient, especially for croissants (via Alberta Milk). Butter tends to have a smoother, richer, more flavorful taste that makes any pastry melt on the tongue. Sorry, are we making you hungry, say, for croissants? Meanwhile, margarine won't give you that same butter flavor or mouthfeel.

Butter is also essential when it comes to the lamination process of making croissants. Lamination simply means the folding of dough and butter to create layers (via Mic). Then, when the pastry goes into a hot oven, the butter layered into the dough melts and causes the pastry to puff up thanks to a minor amount of steam that's trapped between the layers. Delicious, flaky layers are born! Ultimately, according to Mic, "If you want good croissants, you need good butter."

At the end of the day, this simple ingredient swap in Costco's croissant is one customers will definitely notice — for the better. 

The one downside to Costco's new croissants

If the mere shape of the croissant is not enough proof or indication of the quality change for Costco customers, there's another way to verify that the warehouse store's bakery is looking out for you. Customers can simply read the ingredient list. It clearly shows that butter is used instead of any other kind of inferior fat. We get it if you miss rounded croissants, however. But as the baker who defended Costco's new straight croissants explained, "It's just a bit of nostalgia making you think the round ones were better."

The one downside to the new and improved Costco croissant? The Redditor concedes that the old rounded shaped was better for sandwich-making. As the croissants practically formed a complete circle, with its ends nearly touching, it did make lunchmeat and topping placement considerably easier. But do you really want to forgo a superior texture and flavor just so you can make your sandwich a little easier to assemble? We didn't think so.