13 Products Experts & Shoppers Say You Shouldn’t Buy From Costco: Cereal, Sushi, & Salad Kits

costco chicken breasts
costco chicken breasts

This story has been updated since it was originally published to include additional items

Oftentimes, Costco serves as a one-stop shop for all of your needs, from groceries to household essentials—and of course, so many delicious specialty snacks. But not every item is worth adding to your cart, whether that’s because it’s not the best deal or around or because it’s lacking in the flavor department. No matter the reason, it helps to know which items to avoid. That’s where the advice of superfans and shopping experts come in.

Below, we’re rounding up a few items that people recommend leaving on Costco shelves, from pricey chicken breasts to disappointing hot sauce. Read on to learn more.

1. Chicken Breasts

Here's one to skip if you're looking to save money. When comparing boneless chicken breast costs, Costco's are pricier than ALDI's options, for example. At Costco, Kirkland Signature “Air-Chilled” Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts cost approximately $3.75 per pound, while Kirkwood Fresh Family Pack Chicken Breasts cost about $1.89 per pound at ALDI. So if you're after the best deal possible, it's a good idea to get your chicken elsewhere.

2. Real Good's Chicken Grande Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce

There are plenty of fan-favorite frozen foods at Costco. However, Real Good’s Chicken Grande Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce is not one of those; in fact, judging by the Reddit threads it’s mentioned in, we’re going to say it’s a fan-least-favorite.

"Tried the Realgood brand enchiladas. Costco, WTF were you thinking? 0 out of 5 stars,” one user posted with a photo of the box. Commenters chimed in to express their own disappointment. “If this is what prison food tastes like, knock some time off everyone’s sentence. These things are inhumane,” one wrote. Brutal!

“I've never seen people more unified on social media,” one person joked about the collective outrage for the product, which seems to be geared toward the Keto crowd. However, even they aren’t pleased: “I also tried these while I was on keto and they are trash. Keto is no excuse to endure these,” wrote one Redditer. Noted! We’ll definitely leave them on the shelf.

3. Cereal

Cereal isn't the healthiest breakfast food around, but that's not the only reason you may want to refrain from buying it at Costco. According to Eating Well food writer Su-Jit Lin, large bags of cereal cost anywhere from $7 to $14 at the warehouse store. You're likely to find cheaper options at your local supermarket, especially when you apply coupons and take advantage of sales. "I’ve used this multi-savings method to get name-brand cereals for $1.50 a box with the purchase of six boxes," wrote Lin. Noted!

4. Okami Sushi Party Trays

There’s a divide among Costco shoppers when it comes to their fresh-made sushi–however, the Okami Sushi Party Trays have struck up a controversy of their own on Reddit. One user took to the website to announce that the trays were on sale for $3.97, or just $0.16/piece–and people had a lot to say about it.

“Yeah not sure sushi is something you want to buy on clearance,” one person commented. “That’s a no from me dawg,” another wrote. Someone who seems to have tried the sushi chimed in, saying that “it’s like chewing soft plastic dipped in soy sauce,” and another commenter called them “garbage.” Alright, we’ll probably pass on this discount, then.

5. Herbs and Spices

Spices are a great way to, well, spice up your meals—and they even come with health benefits. They're a staple in many kitchens, which is why it's important to ensure you're choosing the most affordable options. Lin writes that the bulk spices at Costco may not give you the most bang for your buck—because they're likely to expire before you finish them all. Instead, consider buying smaller varieties that you're likely to work through before they lose their aroma and flavor.

6. Global Gourmet Hot Sauce Collection

At first glance, hot sauce lovers may be excited to see that Costco carries a pack of 12 different “gourmet” sauces, featuring options from around the world, such as Africa Cayenne Hot Sauce and America’s Wild West Buffalo. However, if Reddit comments are any indication, this pack isn’t worth your money–especially if you prefer your hot sauce, um… hot.

“If you want to try 12 hot sauces that all taste the same, Costco has a perfect package for you. Very mid,” reads one thread, which features a ton of comments expressing disappointment in the sauces.

"No one who loves hot sauce would buy this or enjoy it as a gift. Avoid," wrote one user. “They all have a cheap Tabasco taste,” someone else agreed. “Definitely a little variance between but they all have a low-quality taste to them. Valentina/Frank's etc. way better.” Well, so much for variety in your variety pack!

7. Salad Kits

In addition to the fact that several salad kits were recently recalled, the price of the options products at Costco is another reason to be wary. Lin notes that the large, bagged salad kits at Costco cost around $7-$9, which may not be worth it if you're not going to eat them all. Instead, you can find smaller, more affordable kits on sale at supermarkets for just around $3, ultimately saving money.

8. Avocados

It's hard to find cheap avocados in general, considering they require a massive amount of water. This means that they can't just grow anywhere—many of them are produced in and imported from Mexico and Central America. At Costco, however, they cost $1.60 each — or almost $10 for six.  Two bags of organic hass avocados (a total of eight avocados) can be obtained at Target for the same price, making Costco the pricier retailer for them.

9. Costco gallon milk jugs

Costco shoppers notoriously have some serious hang-ups about the packaging of the store’s gallon milk jugs. Unlike most gallon jugs, which are rounded, Costco carries square-shaped gallons. They made this design decision back in 2008 in order to make them not only better for the environment but easy to ship, too–however, it was at the expense of practicality when it comes to actually using the milk.

According to shoppers across the internet, the square shape makes it difficult to pour the milk and frequently leads to spills. Reddit users have even referred to the design as “trash.” Yikes! “Everyone in my family literally groaned when they saw them in the fridge,” one person commented.

If you're lucky, though, your Costco location may carry different types of milk jugs, as not all of the stores are stocked with this dreaded design.

10. Green Smoothie

A smoothie can be a delicious, healthy way to fit some more fruits and veggies into your diet—but it seems like the green smoothies from Costco weren't received very well when they were sampled at one warehouse. One Redditor recently shared a photo of a trash can filled with nearly-full sample cups of the green liquid, writing: "It looks like the 'green smoothie' samples were not very popular today...."

In the comments, others jumped in to share their own opinion on the smoothies, writing "They're definitely not great. Tried one today and grimaced," and "Kale salad in a strong vinegarette is so good. Why would you choose to drink kale pulverized to smithereens." Fair point!

11. Shea Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner

When you're on a budget, Costco is oftentimes a great place to stock up on essentials like toiletries. However, according to shoppers, their Shea Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner are poor choices for your hair. One Redditor made a post titled "Costco Shea Moisture shampoo/conditioner is not good," writing, "It’s probably one of the worst hair products I’ve used. It doesn’t do anything for my hair. It doesn’t feel clean or healthy after."

The comments echoed this sentiment. "Absolutely agree. All three adults in my home with different hair types hate it. It's surprisingly heavy and makes my hair feel waxy," said one user, with another posting, "Yep, it is truly the worst shampoo I've ever used—worse even than some super cheap stuff I've bought from Dollar Tree and Dollar General." Yikes! We'll leave this one on shelves.

12. Spanish Paella

Costco is typically a great place to find delicious frozen foods, but one Redditor recently gave a warning about their Spanish Paella. "Paella was really gross, do not recommend," they wrote. "I wasn’t expecting authentic mind blowing delicious, but this was so flavorless and gross. I took a few bites and threw the rest away. Don’t bother wasting money on it."

We'll stick to tastier options!

13. Organic Sweet Potato Sticks

We love sweet potatoes, especially because they're tasty and great for you. Unfortunately, though, one shopper was sorely disappointed with Costco's Organic Sweet Potato Sticks. In a Reddit post, they wrote, "Got these at Costco on a whim for my kid. Saw they were organic and figured it would be healthy after glancing at the label and seeing the single ingredient."

This customer has a few bones to pick with the product. "First off, they are slimy and gross," they said. "Secondly, they are made in China and they put that in small writing on the back but a big USDA organic logo on the front. There’s even a reproductive harm and cancer warning on it too, though they don’t say what it’s in reference to."

It seems they aren't the only one who took issue, as one person commented, "I liked these but they are VERY slimy." Noted!