Kirkland hams are a hit during the holiday season, and many customers rave about them long after. You wouldn’t be alone if you want to stock up on their ham to store in the freezer for special occasions. Have you ever stopped to wonder where exactly Costco gets their ham? Do they have their own pork farms?
Costco sources their pork from a variety of meat farmers in the United States, most notably JBS Swift USA, Perdue, and Tyson. However, they may also source their ham from other smaller-scale farms, but these are the big names behind Kirkland ham.
In this article, we will discuss the Kirkland ham sold at Costco and the three potential manufacturers of Kirkland ham.
Table of Contents
What Kirkland Ham Does Costco Sell?
Kirkland signature has hickory smoked, spiral-sliced ham generally available for purchase seasonally in their warehouses across the United States. You’re most likely to find the ham For availability in your location, you will have to confirm with your local Costco.
The ham you’ll find at Costco is pre-cooked. In fact, prior to its arrival at the warehouse, the ham is cut from the big, cooked, brined, and then sliced to provide the spiral cut. They all come with a glaze packet that you can use during cooking for the Kirkland Signature ham flavor.
Many prefer the Kirkland hand to comparable brands for its rich flavor, less salty profile, and delicious glaze.
Where Does Kirkland Ham Come From?
Costco has to partner with many different companies for their meat supply due to their many locations across the United States. It would be almost impossible for Costco to source all of its meat from one supplier. This rings true for their ham products as well.
Kirkland ham is likely sourced from one of the three major meat farms:
- JBS Swift USA,
- Perdue, and
You’ve likely heard of these big name suppliers before, so it should come as no surprise that they supply Costco. Costco is known to partner with quality, name-brands to produce their Kirkland products, considering Costco does not manufacture any of their own.
These partnerships are essential to ensure that Costco can keep up with the demand for their Kirkland favorites and makes the [process fairly streamlined.
If Costco had to have their own factories, farms, and processing plants for all of the Kirkland products they made, they would need to expand operations significantly, develop their own recipes, hire experts, etc.
All of this to create a great product that can compete with already established products.
Instead, Costco simply avoids that process and makes strategic partnership with big names to resell their products under the Kirkland private label.
What Is JBS Swift USA?
JBS Swift is a brand under the JBS Foods Corporation. JBS Foods is a leader in the global meat supply. In fact, they are the leading beef producer in the entire world, with farms and factories in the United States, Australia, and Canada.
They are also the leading shareholder of the brand “Pilgrims” which is the leading poultry producer in the world. Pilgrims have farms and factories across the United States, United Kingdom, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.
And finally, our main concern is pork! JBS foods is the second largest producer of pork in the world with farms and factories across the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
JBS owns “Swift Foods,” Which is a major producer of pre-packed meat for branded and private label offerings! It makes sense that Swift Foods, and therefore JBS Foods, would be a supplier of Costco considering how widespread their corporation is.
Where Does Tyson and Perdue Come In?
Although JBS does have a large hand in the pork market, they are not the only big name in the meat supply. Perdue and Tyson both have large shares of meat production in the United States and are other likely suppliers of Kirkland ham.
Tyson produces about 20% of the beef, pork, and chicken in the United States! They are also the only company that sells chicken, beef, pork, and prepared meats across all major retail distribution channels.
Although a majority of Tyson’s business likely comes from their own branded products, they are a likely partner with Costco as well.
Perdue is primarily known as a chicken supplier, and they are one of the leading producers of fresh chicken in the United States. However, they also have a booming beef and pork industry that is slightly less well known.
Their pork comes mostly from other farms that Perdue owns, such as Coleman Natural Foods and Niman Ranch.
Costco has not confirmed that they source their ham from JBS Swift, Tyson, or Perdue. However, from what we know about the process behind Kirkland products, it is likely that they source their products from one or all of these suppliers.
Kirkland products are famously made by well-established, quality producers that are leaders in their respective markets.
Given how well established these three meat companies are in the United States, they are likely candidates for a partnership with Costco.
However, we cannot claim this with absolute certainty, unless Costco or one of their partners was to confirm it.
But, if you’re okay not knowing exactly where your meat comes from, and are happy relying on Kirkland’s quality-guarantee, next holiday season you should give Kirkland ham a try and see if it lives up to its reputation.
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