Who manufactures Kirkland brand infant formula?

I realize that I have had several baby-related posts lately, but becoming a new mother will do that.  Much of my googling these days revolves around baby questions, but I won’t bore you with all of those.  But today comes a special What I Googled Last Night investigation… Who manufactures Kirkland brand infant formula?  The answer appears to be Abbott Nutrition, which is also the manufacturer of Similac.  For more details, read on!

Like many new moms, despite my initial plans, I have had to supplement with formula for my baby’s nutritional needs.  We have been using Similac for Supplementation, which in itself raises some questions, but last week during a family trip to Costco (our entertainment these days is different than it was five months ago), I was shocked to see that the Costco/Kirkland brand infant formula was a fraction of the price of Similac. 

Following that discovery, my husband and I each did research about formula and learned that the FDA regulates minimums and maximums of all of the essential ingredients, so there is no need to buy the brand name formulas.

Still, we, like any parents, wanted to make sure that we were not harming our baby by not using the more expensive formulas.  My husband made an off-hand comment that he bet that Kirkland Formula was manufactured by the same maker as Similac, and that comment prompted me to do some research to figure out who makes Kirkland formula.

Most of my googling ends up with easy, quick results.  Not so with this. I started with the hypothesis that one of the big manufacturers makes Kirkland Infant Formula and that it would be hard to confirm that because the big companies would have an incentive not to publicize that information since they charge so much more for the brand names.  For example, diapers.com sells 34 oz of Similac Advance for $46.19.  By contrast, in its stores, Costco sells 40 oz. of its formula for $17!

So, I figured I would have some digging to do and I did.  I found many references in online bulletin boards and blogs that Kirkland formula is manufactured by Abbott Nutrition, which also manufactures Similac, but no definitive proof.  So I dug a bit further and here is what I found: 

  • In March, 2014, the FDA issued a press release that Abbott Nutrition was working with its criminal investigations office to recover stolen formula.  The two types of formula stolen were Similac and Kirkland Brand.  The formula was stolen en route from Casa Grande, Arizona, which is one of the production facilities for Abbott brands of formula.
  • A USDA report from its Economic Research Service notes the following: “In the spring of 2001, Abbott Labs, the parent company of Ross, began producing a private label infant formula for sale in Costco stores.”

Based on my research, I am reasonably confident that Abbott Nutrition does manufacture Kirkland Brand Infant Formula.  As long as our baby adjusts well to it, we will be saving some money in the coming months!

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23 thoughts on “Who manufactures Kirkland brand infant formula?

  1. Pingback: So who makes Costco / Kirkland Infant Formula? - theITbaby

    • We only used enfamil, similac makes my daughter sick and kirkland didn’t have any reactions for her. No tummy issues all!

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  2. I found your post because I just bought some Kirkland formula, made up a bottle and said “this mixes and smells like Similac!” I had to google it to see if anyone else agreed!

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  3. You parents are so naive! First of all, there are MANY knock off brands that are manufactured by the same companies as brand name items… however, that does not mean they are the same quality. For instance, Saputo makes saputo butter, fraser valley butter, meadowvale butter, amd western family butter. But they are all made differently as per buyer standards. Dont fool yourself. I worked for third party warehouses that provided a ton of services for these and other manufacturers..

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  4. The formula has actually been discontinued, the manager at Costco couldn’t tell me why. I just looked online to see if this could be ordered. hat is not an option either. I would love to know if they will come out with another version perhaps similarly priced.

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      • I happen to have a container of kirkland and of parent’s choice, identical ingredient list (down to the last gram!) and both manufactured by PBM. Almost identical containers, labels and under the bottom the exact same printing type. Primary difference: Parents choice without the DHA/Omega 3s is not the same, however the Parent’s choice WITH it is the same formula.

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  5. So I’m wondering where the info on PBM is coming from? I’m currently comparing a canister of similac and a canister of Kirkland. Even down to the labeling it all looks the same, although the ingredients vary slightly. The Kirkland actually seems better? Similac has corn syrup and sugar. Kirkland has neither…. Even the phone number for questions is almost the same… It’s off by one digit. I believe Abbott labs makes Kirkland along with Similac.

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  6. Similac by Abbot Labs and the generic Kirkland version produced by PBM are very similar in their stated ingredients and nutritional profiles. However, like most food products, there is no information on the label regarding manufacturing process and so you have to trust the manufacturer. Abbot is a household name and people trust it implicitly. PBM is not a know entity so there are questions that arise. Here are some answers I found that make me feel confident enough in the brand.

    PBM was acquired by Perrigo in an all cash transaction in 2010: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/perrigo-acquires-infant-formula-manufacturer-pbm-holdings-for-808-million-88896607.html

    Perrigo is an NYSE listed company that is 129 years old: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perrigo

    Perrigo makes white label baby formula for Costco, Wallgreens, CVS and others: http://www.perrigonutritionals.com/infant-formulas.aspx

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