When sourcing the finest canned tuna, Costco has become a go-to destination for seafood enthusiasts and budget-conscious shoppers. It has a wide array of options for popular seafood products like shrimp and salmon and an excellent reputation for quality.
Costco canned tuna products are some of the best on the market. But which one is right for you?
In this article, we will embark on a culinary journey through the aisles of Costco to unveil the top contenders in the world of canned tuna. Whether you’re a health-conscious consumer, a culinary adventurer, or simply seeking a convenient and tasty protein source, join us as we dive deep into the ocean of Costco canned tuna selections to help you find the ultimate catch.
Does Costco Have Canned Tuna? What Kind Of Canned Tuna Does Costco Sell
Yes, Costco sells four types of canned tuna in the pantry section near the olive oils. One other brand, Wild Planet, was only available online.
Here are the offerings:
- Kirkland Signature Albacore Solid White
- Bumble Bee Solid White Albacore
- Genova Yellow Fin Tuna In Olive Oil
- Chicken Of The Sea Chunk Light Tuna In Water
- Wild Planet Albacore Wild Tuna
The main differences between them are the variety of fish, the liquid it’s packed in (if any), and the texture.
Tuna is an umbrella term that includes over 60 varieties of fish. Out of the 14 types that are caught commercially, only three are sent to the cannery: Albacore, skipjack, and yellowfin. Costco carries all three types.
Further confusing matters is that the textures of tuna vary, too. However, the rhetoric on the label helps consumers determine the consistency. Solid White will come out of the container in one piece. While Chunk is flakier, and Chunk Light has the smallest pieces.
After the fish is sent to the cannery, it’s processed and often packed in water or oil to help the tuna retain moisture. Water-packed tuna has fewer calories and more omega-3s, while oil-packed is higher in Vitamin D and flavor but lower in Omega-3s. Wild Planet is the only option cooked in the can; the liquid is natural juices.
There are differences between the five types of Costco canned tuna you cannot see. This includes mercury levels and sustainability.
It’s a lot to consider when picking canned tuna at Costco! Here’s how to choose the right one for you.
How To Pick The Best Costco Canned Tuna For You
It can be overwhelming to stand in the pantry aisle of Costco with all of the canned tuna options and know which one to pick. If you are anything like me, you probably grab the one you always do without thinking much.
But when you examine the labels, there is so much information. It’s time to see if we are picking the best Costco Canned tuna. We evaluated the options based on price, uses, sustainability, taste, texture, and mercury levels. Here’s what we found.
Types of Canned Tuna Sold At Costco
Three types of tuna are sent to the cannery: Albacore, Skip Jack, and Yellow Fin. Each one is sold in the warehouse.
All of the products list the type of tuna on the label except for Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light. This product is a combination of Skip Jack and Yellow Fin. You may be thinking, why does the type of fish matter?
The taste, texture, sustainability, and mercury levels vary by type.
Canned Tuna Texture And Taste
Cans labeled “white” are albacore tuna. This is the most popular variety thanks to its firm texture and mild taste. The other options, Yellow Fin and Skip Jack, are darker, with softer textures and more robust flavors.
Solid White, since it’s the firmest, is great for tacos or pasta. The Chunk is still firm but separated and flaky, so we like it for salads and sandwiches. Chunk Light has the softest texture. We use this variety when the consistency like tuna melts and casseroles, doesn’t matter.
Mercury Levels In Costco Canned Tuna
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “all fish contain at least traces of mercury, which can be harmful to the brain and nervous system if a person is exposed to too much of it over time.” While the agency noted the concern, it still recommends eating several servings of fish per week.
Both natural and unnatural causes are attributed to mercury levels in the environment. Most notably, industrial actions increase the amounts in the air, which makes it into bodies of water. While many countries have taken steps to reduce emissions, a 2019 study by Harvard found, “Even as mercury levels in the oceans have fallen, levels in some fish—such as tuna, salmon, and swordfish—have increased due to overfishing and climate change.”
A recent Consumer Reports investigation found that Albacore tuna have the highest level of mercury, nearly three times the amount of other varieties. This is likely due to the fish’s long life span and large size. Skip Jack, the smallest fish, had the lowest levels in their testing.
Sustainability in Costco Canned Tuna
Like in the salmon and shrimp industries, sustainability is a significant concern. Since tuna is so popular, overfishing likely happens due to the considerable demand.
Fishing practices are also considered an issue. Since tuna are found at depths 100-300 meters below the surface, long nets are sometimes used for the catch. Boats drag the nets and pick up other species along with the intended tuna.
Wild Planet is the one brand that uses pole and line-caught fish. Seafood Wat endorses this method as one of the most sustainable.
Best Canned Tuna Costco Reviews
Costco Albacore Tuna — Kirkland Signature Albacore White
The cheapest Albacore option in the warehouse, Kirkland Signature Albacore White, has a firm texture and mild flavor. It’s solid and great for most recipes, including pasta and tacos.
As for the health benefits, albacore tuna packed in water has fewer calories and more Omega-3s than options in oil. The Kirkland Signature version is made of Albacore Tuna, which has the highest levels of mercury.
Costco Albacore Tuna – Bumble Bee Solid White Albacore
The other solid Albacore option in the warehouse, Bumble Bee Solid White Albacore, is similar in taste, texture, and other qualities to the Kirkland Signature version. Still, it’s packed with water and vegetable broth. This adds flavor but is a concern if you have a soy allergy.
Costco is pretty tight-lipped about the manufacturers of their products, but according to The Globe and Mail, Kirkland canned tuna is made by Bumble Bee.
It’s a few dollars more, and the qualities are so close to the Kirkland Signature product that we’d choose the store brand over this one.
Costco Albacore Tuna — Wild Planet Tuna Costco
The third albacore option at the warehouse, Wild Planet Albacore, has a great white color, firm texture, and mild taste. This brand stands out as the most expensive but is the only product NOT packed in a liquid. The fish is cooked in the can, allowing the natural juices to seep out.
If you are concerned about sustainability, this is your best bet. The company prides itself on only using sustainable practices that do not include nets.
As for mercury levels, it’s about the same as other brands. Consumer Reports recommends people consume no more than one five-ounce can per week. This aligns with most other brands of Albacore tested.
Genova Yellow Fin Tuna In Olive Oil
This is the only Costco Canned Tuna packed in olive oil and the only Yellow Fin option. Both of these attributes lead to a more robust flavor and flakier texture. The added olive oil contributes to the higher calorie and Vitamin D levels. It also decreases the Omega-3s as they seep into the oil.
If you want a robust tuna flavor for gourmet meals, try Genova Yellow Fin Tuna.
Chicken Of The Sea Chunk Light Tuna In Water
Chicken of The Sea Chunk Light Tuna is the only option in the warehouse with Skip Jack tuna. This smaller variety of fish produces a softer texture with a more robust flavor. The most significant benefit of this type is what you don’t see: it’s more sustainable and contains less mercury.
Consumer Reports found this version to have some of the lowest levels of mercury, and according to their guidelines, most people can safely consume three cans a week.
If you are concerned about mercury levels, Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light In Water is the top warehouse pick.
Best Canned Tuna Costco
Our overall pick for the best Costco canned tuna is Chicken Of The Sea Chunk Light. It has a great taste, texture, and price. These cans contain Skip Jack and Yellow Fin tunas, which have less mercury than Albacore.
Kirkland Signature Albacore is your best bet if you prefer Albacore tuna for its mild taste. It’s the cheapest of its kind.
Best Gourmet Costco Canned Tuna
For a meatier taste and texture for pasta and other uses, try Genova Wild Fin Tuna. It’s packed in olive oil, which gives it more flavor.
Best Canned Tuna Costco Prices
|Type||Cost||Number of Cans|
|Kirkland Signature Albacore White||$16.99||(8) 7-Ounce Cans|
|Bumble Bee Solid White Albacore||$17.99||(8) 7-Ounce Cans|
|Genova Yellow Fin Tuna In Olive Oil||$14.89||(6) 7-Ounce Cans|
|Chicken Of The Sea Chunk Light Tuna In Water||$16.79||(12) 7-Ounce Cans|
|Wild Planet||$15.99||(6) 5-Ounce Cans|
Is Costco Canned Tuna Healthy?
There are several health benefits to Costco canned tuna, but there are some downsides, too. Costco canned tuna is an excellent source of protein. One can 42 grams of protein, which is almost ¾ of your recommended daily amount.
A significant downside of any canned tuna is the mercury levels. The U.S. FDA states, “all fish contain at least traces of mercury, which can be harmful to the brain and nervous system if a person is exposed to too much of it over time.” While the agency noted the concern, it still recommends eating several servings of fish per week.
Costco Canned Tuna FAQ
Is Kirkland Tuna The Same As Bumblebee?
While Costco is notoriously tight-lipped about which companies manufacture their products, it’s been widely reported that the company was unhappy with the quality of canned tuna on the market and decided to remedy that.
They partnered with Bumble Bee to create a product reminiscent of tuna from the past, namely more substantial and with fewer floating flakes.
Things may have changed since the 2002 report, but both products are still sold in the warehouse, although they are different fish varieties. Kirkland Signature Canned Tuna is Albacore, while Skip Jack and Yellow Fin comprise the Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light.
Does Kirkland Canned Tuna Have Mercury?
Yes, Kirkland canned tuna has mercury. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “all fish contain at least traces of mercury, which can be harmful to the brain and nervous system if a person is exposed to too much of it over time.” While the agency noted the concern, it still recommends eating several servings of fish per week.
Different types of tuna have varying levels of mercury. A recent Consumer Reports investigation found that “albacore has much more mercury than light or skipjack tuna, regardless of the brand.” Kirkland Signature Canned Tuna is from albacore tuna. If you are concerned about mercury, try Chicken of The Sea Chunk Light. It contains Skip Jack and Yellow Fin varieties, which are smaller and carry less mercury.
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