15 Canned Foods You Should Never Buy From Sam's Club

Member's Mark is the private brand for Sam's Club, the members-only warehouse that's part of the Walmart family. The brand's goal is to provide quality products for lower prices, and Walmart has been open about its intent to make both in-house brands and Member's Mark products more diverse and sustainable. Among the Member's Mark products that you can find at Sam's Club are canned foods that often get great ratings. When you take a closer look at the reviews, you can see that even highly rated products also have some issues.

One common complaint for most of the Sam's Club Member's Mark products, especially canned goods, has to do with shipping and packaging. Specifically, cans often arrived badly dented, to the point where customers wonder if the food might not be safe to eat. Normally, it's annoying to open up the reviews to find that people tanked a product's rating because they didn't like the shipping, even if they liked the product. However, in these cases, the complaints about dents are so prevalent that you can understand why people would mention it. You might say that the number one canned food to avoid buying from Sam's Club is anything you plan to have shipped to your home. 

But first, you need to know if you'd want to purchase a product to begin with. And in some cases, you'll really want to investigate whether or not the item is one of 15 canned foods you should never buy from Sam's Club.

1. Member's Mark Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water

At 4.2 stars, the Member's Mark Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water doesn't seem like such a bad deal, even though it has the lowest rating on this list. However, the product has a complaint about unwanted ingredients, with one customer claiming it contains vegetable broth and soy instead of just water and salt. One of the 3-star reviews bizarrely says there is too much to eat at one time, which would make sense as Sam's Club is a bulk-buy warehouse.

An additional complaint focuses on the shipping and notes that the cans were dented. We've already pointed out that this seems to be a consistent problem that shows up with most of the Member's Mark tinned foods, but for something like canned tuna, a dent would be especially bad. Not only would the product leak, but the tuna odor would escape the can as well. You might consider purchasing this in person to ensure you get a can that isn't dinged.

2. Member's Mark Mandarin Oranges, 105-ounce can

If you really want to be annoyed at people who rate products, Member's Mark Mandarin Oranges is the product for you. These mandarin oranges, sold in a large 105-ounce can, are rated at 4.5 stars with seven 1-, 2-, and 3-star ratings — and absolutely no reviews for any of them as of September 2022. Listen, if you're going to leave a negative rating on a product's webpage, please have the courtesy to say why you're giving the product a lower rating. The product does have 13 reviews for the 4- and 5-star ratings, so you can check out why people liked the product, at least.

Interestingly, some sites are promoting the use of ratings instead of reviews, according to eComEngine. The intent is to allow for faster ratings so that people who don't want to take the time to write a review can still register their opinion and that the resulting star rating would be more accurate. However, eComEngine does say that this practice could lead to more fake reviews in the future rather than fewer fake reviews.

3. Member's Mark Whole Peeled Tomatoes in Tomato Juice

The majority of Member's Mark canned goods that are currently available are tomato products. The complaints vary greatly and often appear to be due to personal taste, at least when you can spot an actual review. For Member's Mark Whole Peeled Tomatoes in Tomato Juice, in the 102-ounce can, there really aren't many reviews or ratings to start with. The product still gets 4.5 stars overall, and there are only three reviews for the 1-, 2-, and 3-star ratings. The complaints are that the product is too watery, has too much sodium, and is never available. That last one does say the consumer loved the product, though. A little conflicting, if you ask us.

Excess sodium can be a problem in canned goods, and normally you should always rinse canned vegetables and beans, which would remove things like sodium from the surface of the canned food in question. This, unfortunately, doesn't work that well for peeled tomatoes in juice. But if you drain the juice instead of using it, assuming you don't need it in your recipe, you should be able to remove at least some of the sodium in the product.

4. Member's Mark Mandarin Oranges, 15-ounce, 10-count

Member's Mark Mandarin Oranges are also sold in a 10-pack of 15-ounce cans, and these, thankfully, have some reviews along with the lower ratings. The product gets 4.4 stars overall, which is about the same as the giant 105-ounce can. However, complaints include too much juice and not enough fruit, objections that the fruit was bitter tasting, claims that there was a lot of peel, and one comment about how the oranges were "B or C grade leftover fruit." That doesn't sound too promising.

A couple of reviews contradict each other, with one lamenting how terrible the oranges are because they're in juice and not syrup and another review complaining about the product being too syrupy. According to the can label, the product is in juice, but the website URL for the product specifically mentions "light syrup." It's possible that the second complaint was meant for an older product version. As for the canned mandarins that use juice, don't let that precious liquid go down the drain. You can use leftover juice from canned fruit in plenty of other recipes.

5. Member's Mark Diced Tomatoes in Juice, 102-ounce

The second tomato product on this list is Member's Mark Diced Tomatoes in Juice, in a 102-ounce can. Out of 11 ratings of 1-, 2-, and 3-stars, only one has a review, and it calls the product too "soupy." The product has 4.5 stars as the overall rating, and the 4- and 5-star reviews are positive. However, many of those higher-rated reviews are short and rather vague. In other words, if you're looking for a product with a lot of information in the reviews, you may have to keep searching.

Luckily, the soupiness is easily overcome by just draining the juice from the can. Diced tomatoes themselves tend to remain with better texture in the can because of a firming agent that's added to the food. If the diced tomatoes are watery, you can always try mixing in diced fresh tomatoes to bulk them up. However, be aware that canned diced tomatoes are cooked, so their texture will be different from fresh tomatoes no matter what you do. This isn't necessarily bad, as you should be reconsidering eating raw, canned tomatoes anyway.

6. Member's Mark Cut Green Beans, 14.5-ounce, 12-count

Despite its 4.5-star rating, the Member's Mark Cut Green Beans, available as a 12-count pack of 14.5-ounce cans, has some troubling reviews. One person complained about how the beans were a "watery mush" and stated they (the reviewer) had stomach problems the next day. While there's no guarantee those stomach problems were due to the green beans and not another food, it's still not good to see a review where someone mentions illness.

Many of the reviews complain that the beans are excessively stringy, mostly stems, watery, and, as one person put it, "going downhill." The texture of the beans are described as overly fibrous. In all, about eight reviews have qualms about stringiness in one form or another, so you may want to be prepared for that if you buy this product. It's not exactly known why green beans turn out so stringy; according to Gardening Know How, excessive stringiness is a sign that beans were picked too late, but according to Oregon Live, that justification hasn't been confirmed as the real reason why some green beans end up so wiry.

7. Member's Mark Tomato Sauce, 106-ounce

Member's Mark Tomato Sauce makes its debut on the list in a 106-ounce can. At 4.5 stars overall, it's one of the lower-rated Member's Mark products, but 4.5 out of 5 stars is still pretty darn good. However, many of the negative reviews mention dented cans, and one had an odd complaint about the case being too "slippery." There's no indication if the customer meant the case was actually too hard to hold.

Other complaints call the product too salty or too watery and say that it seems like the product has been switched, meaning that the name was the same, but the product inside had changed. One comment notes there was less product inside, and yet another person used their review space to request the return of a different product to Sam's Club's lineup. By the way, if you order canned goods and find them all dented, the University of Wyoming Extension has a guide you can follow to determine when to discard the product. In summary, if the damage looks severe, it's probably safest to toss the can.

8. Member's Mark Chicken Breast, 50-ounce

Sam's Club carries canned chicken, one of the most convenient and nutritious foods you could hope to find wrapped in metal. There are a lot of reasons why you should always have canned chicken in your pantry; however, this particular product puts even those into question. The large 50-ounce can of Member's Mark Chicken Breast has its share of negative reviews. Overall, the product has 4.6 stars, but the more negative reviews include criticisms about a possibly spoiled batch where the meat had an oily texture and off-putting odor, as well as many complaints about dented cans. Some reviewers didn't want such a big can having to throw away the remainder of the product.

If you decide to buy this product and find yourself swimming in chicken, you can freeze the portions you can't eat quickly. Still Tasty puts the shelf life of frozen, canned chicken at one to two months but also says that this describes quality only. If the freezer is working properly and the chicken is kept at 0 F or below, the meat should remain safe to eat past that brief timespan (via USDA).

9. Member's Mark Pineapple Tidbits, 107-ounce

Member's Mark Pineapple Tidbits — in the 107-ounce can — get generally good ratings with 4.7 stars. It has five 1- and 3-star ratings with no reviews, leaving potential consumers guessing why former shoppers didn't like the product. It doesn't get much better when you look at the higher ratings, with nine out of 10 of the 4-star ratings also having no reviews. There are a number of 5-star reviews, but guess what? Out of 70 ratings, 59 have no reviews and some of the reviews that are present come up vague and short.

An article on Wired warns that many 5-star reviews, especially if they tend to be brief and vague, could be fake. Obviously, this does not mean that the reviews on this product are fake; some people just don't write a lot. But, this is one product that you might want to think about to ensure that you're okay with buying, especially if it doesn't turn out to be something you like. On a positive note, however, there were no complaints about dented cans.

10. Member's Mark Tropical Fruit Salad, 107-ounce

Our next product of choice, the 107-ounce can of Member's Mark Tropical Fruit Salad, has only five ratings of 1-, 2-, and 3-stars, and only two of those have accompanying reviews. One reports a pesticide, chemical-like taste, and the other thought the fruit was too hard to eat on its own but might work when blended for a smoothie. And again, the higher ratings don't have much written about them either. That said, this is another product where you may not have much to go on if you hope to know how other people felt about the product first.

If you do give this a try and find the fruit to be too firm, you could try to soften the pieces. If your dried fruit is too hard, one tip we recommend is to let the pieces soak in warm water for a few minutes. If you don't mind the fact that your tinned produce will become warm, you could try this trick to see if it helps soften the canned fruit. Additionally, if you're planning for a certain recipe (baking, for example). You can soften harder fresh fruit through low and slow cooking if you have the time.

11. Member's Mark Crushed Tomatoes in Tomato Puree, 105-ounce

Tomatoes make another appearance in our list, this time as the Member's Mark Crushed Tomatoes in Tomato Puree. This 105-ounce can doesn't have that many negative reviews; in fact, most of the negative ratings have no review, and the product gets 4.8 stars overall. Of the three that do have negative reviews, all complain about texture. One called the product bland and watery, saying that they initially wanted to find a substitute for a name brand, only to discover that they had to add a can of the name brand to their recipe anyway to account for the lack of taste in the Member's Mark product.

The second negative review gives a little history of the product. The customer wrote that they used to buy another brand that Member's Mark replaced, and that since then, the texture has been off. The customer review points out that the product was more like chunks of tomato instead of the crushed-pureed mixture that most brands use. A third customer agrees, also noting the appearance of tomato skins in the mixture. There's a genuine difference between crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes, so if you need that distinction to be clear, skip this can.

12. Member's Mark Whole Kernel Sweet Corn, 15-ounce, 12-count

Canned corn is a marvel. You can snack on it, cook with it, and even use the water it's packed in for soup (via Reddit). You can even upgrade your canned corn by dressing it up with spices and sauce for a hearty side dish.

The wonders of corn taken into account, it's rather disappointing to find that Member's Mark Whole Kernel Sweet Corn has a lot of complaints about texture. The product has 4.7 stars overall, but reviews complain about the corn being tough to chew, rotten, and with a flavor that was not at all what it should be. Many people again complained about dented cans. Quite a few comments point out that the carton — not the shipping box, but the carton holding the 12 cans — was in good shape, yet the cans inside were all dented. That implies denting happened somewhere in the production process, not through shipping. If you want to buy canned corn at Sam's Club, be careful — especially if those reviews are accurate. Keep a close eye on the recent reviews and see if the complaints about dents taper off.

13. Member's Mark Premium Chunk Chicken Breast, 12.5-ounce, 6-count

Product reviews often serve as a quick way for customers to express displeasure at administrative changes. The 6-count of 12.5-ounce cans of Member's Mark Premium Chunk Chicken Breast gets 4.7 stars and, actually, a lot of compliments for the chicken itself. People like the product, but recent reviews show many, many complaints about how much the price has gone up (it apparently doubled), with one person even stating they're buying rotisserie chickens from now on. Other complaints focus on how there appeared to be more water in their cans and not as much chicken. 

It's important to point out that the change in the water-chicken ratio could have been a fluke, or it could have just been the customer's perception. It doesn't quite qualify as potential shrinkflation, in which a manufacturer reduces the amount or size of a product while leaving the price the same as its previously bigger version, based on the comments alone. However, shrinkflation is a real phenomenon that CNBC says consumers have been complaining about for a while. Snacks saw the most shrinkflation, produce saw the smallest amount of shrinkflation, and meat was in the middle. That leaves you with a 50-50 chance that Sam's Club has dug in on this trend, so maybe you should go for a freshly roasted chicken yourself.

14. Member's Mark Tomato Sauce, 15-ounce, 12-count

The canned-tomato adventure continues with another version of Member's Mark Tomato Sauce. The 12-pack of 15-ounce cans gets 4.6 stars, which is not the lowest in this list but definitely not the highest — although it is rated slightly better than the bulk 106-ounce can. That version has complaints about being too salty, but the 12-count actually has a review claiming the product is too sweet and ruined a sauce the customer tried to make. Another review calls the sauce too bland. Additional reviews complain about an awful smell and noted severe discoloration, with reviews saying it's either blackish or brownish. Two people even assert that they received rusted cans, and an abundance of the negative reviews mention most or all of the cans being dented.

Product quality appears to be a concern beyond the bad shipping. One person said the interior carton of cans did not appear to have been opened, but there were only 11 units in the pack. Two others focus on leaks in the cans, and yet another person worried about botulism. Again, most of the ratings are positive and place this product squarely in the higher-rated range, but from the reviews, it sounds like you'd really want to buy this product in person so you could check out the packaging in-store rather than having it shipped. If you prefer, you can also try a homemade tomato sauce recipe to avoid the fuss.

15. Member's Mark Tomato Paste, 6-ounce, 12-count

The 12-pack of 6-ounce cans of Member's Mark Tomato Paste has some odd reviews. The product itself has 4.8 stars, so this is one canned-tomato product that isn't doing too badly — or, so it seems. One review claims the labels on the cans were printed upside down, which led to the customer initially trying to use a can opener on the bottom of the can, and another declares the tins had no label at all. One writer states that there was a funny aftertaste, which was about the only mundane review among those under 3-stars. A further reviewer says the best-by date had no year, just a month and day. Assuming the date was not using a Julian-calendar code that the customer couldn't interpret, we can imagine it would be a bit distressing to find that there is no way to tell when a product's quality will start to decline.

Best-by dates may be guidelines, according to the USDA, but that doesn't mean you want to take chances that the quality of a product you just bought actually started declining last year. If you buy this product, ensure the labels are on correctly, and look for a fully-printed best-by date. And, if you still aren't sure you want to purchase the item, remember that you can always try using a substitute for tomato paste.