Spread the love
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Showdown: Sam’s Club vs. Costco Wholesale Club

Deciding whether to join a wholesale club is a big decision, especially if you have the added challenge of needing gluten free options. Both clubs have gluten free offerings, which are listed in detail below, sorted by pantry staples like dry goods (pasta, rice, pancake mix, bread), refrigerated (almond milk, produce, meat), frozen (meat, vegetables), and snacks (chips, crackers, hummus, and more)! It is important to choose the membership that had the most gluten free product offerings AND the best prices. Warehouse clubs are a great way to save money, especially if you are into meal planning.

For this comparison, cost and selection are factored into the ratings. A gluten free shopping cart of 21 similar items was compared side by side (see below), and the results were a bit surprising. Although Costco’s basket was 8% more expensive in total ($197.26 vs. $181.08), the unit price turned out to be 9% less expensive at Costco ($19.40 vs. $21.34). It turns out that each warehouse club has better deals on different items. The Sam’s vs. Costco infographic below shows more details.

price comparison costco vs sams gluten free

Although Sam’s total shopping cart was cheaper, Costco came out ahead in several categories, most notably ground turkey, where it was 50% cheaper than Sam’s. Sam’s had the best deal on Crunchmaster crackers at almost 44% cheaper than Costco, and on frozen chicken, which was over 38% cheaper than Costco! For gluten free items, Costco had the best deal on gluten free Milton’s crackers (25.19% cheaper) and gluten free bread (almost 24% cheaper). (Availability may vary at your local store.)

However, there is also weight behind item selection, of which Costco far surpasses Sam’s Club, especially in the snacks and crackers category (9 items vs. 4 items, mentioned below). Read on to find out which items are available at which clubs.

Pantry staples: Costco vs. Sam’s Club

Dry goods

Flour

Costco: Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Flour OR Almond Flour. I have seen both here on a regular basis. Update: as of 1/3/18 Costco now has both Namaste All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour AND almond flour (super fine). 3 pounds of Almond Flour for $11.99 is a great price.

Sam’s: Sometimes they have Bob’s Red Mill, but not consistently.
Bob’s Red Mill Super-fine Almond Flour (3 lb) – $11.18 (on sale, $2.80 instant savings)

Rice & Grains

This is a staple for our family! We have it with almost every meal.

Costco:

  • Seeds of Change Organic Quinoa and Brown Rice. Just what it says…quinoa and brown rice. Very tasty and easy to cook, just pop in the microwave for 90 seconds! They have this every time I go, and we always make sure we have this in the pantry. It is also organic! It’s great as a side dish or as a meal!
  • Cucina & Amore Ready to Eat Meal, Artichoke & Roasted Pepper: This is a convenient, ready to eat meal that you can eat without heating up, or heat it up for a hot meal. It has 2 separate packets; one cup full of quinoa and one smaller cup full of artichoke and red pepper. Mix them together for an instant meal!

Sam’s:

Pasta

Costco:

Sam’s:

  • Our Sam’s does not have any gluten free pasta. They list Daily Chef Gluten-free Penne online, but it’s not available at our club.

Pancake mix

Costco:

  • WildRoots Ancient Grain Pancake and Waffle Mix

Sam’s Club: Does not have gluten free pancake mix

Bread

Costco:

Sam’s Club: They looked at me funny when I asked if they had gluten free bread. Strike!


Refrigerated

Almond milk

Costco:

  • Kirkland almond milk, soy milk, rice milk. Silk almond milk.

Sam’s Club:

  • Silk Almond Milk, Member’s Mark almond milk (refrigerated)

Snacks

Chips

Costco:

Sam’s Club:

  • WildRoots Tortilla Chips.
    “A Sam’s Club exclusive, WildRoots Tortilla Chips are made with red quinoa, flax seeds and chia seeds. Packed with nutritional benefits, the combination of these super grains makes these tortilla chips the perfect nutritious snack for you and your family. The WildRoots philosophy: If you can’t pronounce it, you shouldn’t eat it.”
  • Blue Tortilla Chips

Crackers

Costco:

Sam’s Club:

  • Crunchmaster 5 seed Multigrain Cracker (20 oz)
    Crunchmaster’s all-natural crackers are cholesterol free, gluten free and wheat free. Over 270 crackers per box with a great toasted multi-seed taste. Each serving has 290 mg of omega-3 as well as low saturated fat and low sodium. They’re 100% whole grain crackers that are great for snack time or with a meal.”
  • Milton’s Gluten Free Crackers (Crispy Sea Salt) – contains milk/dairy

Hummus

Costco has 2 different kinds of hummus to choose from:

Sam’s: Sabra Hummus (regular)

Other Healthy Snack Foods

Costco:

  • Tropical Fields Crispy Coconut Rolls with sesame seeds – these light and crisp snacks are made with coconut milk and contain no artificial color or flavors. They are delicious!
  • 180 Degree Snacks Toasted Coconut Mango Squares – these bite sized mango coconut square snacks are delicious and healthy! Gluten free, kosher, nut free, and vegan.
  • Protein bars
  • Harvest Snap Peas – These are one of my favorites! Baked and lightly salted green pea crisps. YUM!
  • Nature Valley Almond Cups (processed in a facility that has wheat products). These come in several different flavors. Costco and Sam’s both have the almond butter flavor. The local grocery store has chocolate almond butter and peanut butter chocolate!
  • Yum Foods Fruit Snacks
  • Popcorn by Popcornopolis – contains milk/dairy
  • Figgy Pops – these come in 4 flavors. Our Costco has 3 flavors.
  • Chia seeds
  • Emmy's organics coconut cookiesEmmy’s Organics Coconut Cookies (Vanilla Bean) – oh my gosh. These are so delish. You will forget they are gluten free.
  • Kirkland Chocolate Chips – these are the best dairy free chocolate chips ever. Plus, the price can’t be beat at $8.99 for a 4.5 pound bag. What!? Ingredients: Chocolate liquor, sugar, vanilla, soy lecithin (emulsifier). Our Costco doesn’t always have these, but I found them before Christmas and bought 4 bags.

Sam’s Club:

  • Nature Valley Almond Cups (processed in a facility that has wheat products). These come in several different flavors. Costco and Sam’s both have the almond butter flavor. The local grocery store has chocolate almond butter and peanut butter chocolate!
  • Nature Valley Almond Butter Granola Nut Chocolate Layered BarsNature Valley Almond Butter Granola Nut Chocolate Layered Bars (processed in a facility that has wheat products). These are fairly new and are a tasty snack.
  • Larabars: Sam’s rotates between full sized Larabars (Apple & Chocolate chip cookie dough) and the mini “bite” size Larabars (Peanut butter chocolate chip & Chocolate chip cookie dough)
  • OatMega grass-fed whey protein bars

Meat

Costco:

  • Chicken Tomatillo Tamales – these are my absolute favorite, in a pinch, just boil them for 20 minutes and serve with salsa (or tomatillo salsa – yum!!). They also come in other flavors (pork with tomato)
  • Coleman Organic Hearty Italian Chicken Meatballs
  • Kirkland Rotisserie chicken
  • Silva gluten free chicken sausage
  • Deli meat

Sam’s Club:

  • Beef Taquitos

Sausage

Costco and Sam’s Club have an amazing selection of naturally gluten-free foods available, such as vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, cheeses and nuts.

In conclusion, after reviewing the list above, it appears Costco is the clear winner in gluten free food selection from a warehouse club, although both offer gluten free breads, flours, produce, and meat, which are naturally gluten free. Sam’s had a cheaper altogether basket price, but Costco had a cheaper unit price overall ($19.40 vs. $21.34).

Reader feedback: Do you have a favorite? Let me know below!

If you don’t care to get a membership, or you live in a small town, check out these products on Amazon. They have a Prime Pantry service that allows you to buy food in bulk!

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •   
  •  
  •  

Refreshing Bytes

Mrs. Refreshing Bytes has a BBA in MIS and an MBA from Wichita State University. With over 15 years of experience in business and I.T., she has spent many busy lunch breaks ordering from restaurants and learning how to navigate several food allergies and intolerances, including: gluten, dairy, red meat, and tomato, for the past 7 years. She is also dabbling in recipe development, creating healthy, protein packed recipes to keep you full longer. All while mothering 2 boys (aged 14 and 4 months) and being an I.T. nerd!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Solve : *
4 + 26 =