Sam’s Club Now Sells Its Own Version of Costco’s Beloved Sweet & Salty Treat

Sam's Club introduces its own version of Costco's popular sweet and salty treat, igniting the rivalry between top warehouse clubs

When browsing the aisles at their neighborhood warehouse, Costco customers frequently swoon over the delectable goodies they come across. But few things can match the high descriptions lately given to one unique sweet. Of course, I’m talking about Sanders Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels.

The astonishing so-called “small batch wonders” have been referred to by admirers as “crazy good,” “dangerously delicious,” “addictive,” and “the devil” on social media this year. The well-liked square-shaped, bite-sized, “slow kettle cooked” caramels are made by Detroit’s renowned Sanders Candy, which has been in business for 148 years. Costco warehouses sell them in sizable 36-ounce tubs for $10.99 apiece. Online, a two-pack costs $46.99.

Meanwhile, customers at Sam’s Club, which is owned by Walmart and is the second big warehouse club in America, have observed a very identical item over the past month or two.

Member’s Mark Soft Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels, which are sold as “kettle-cooked caramels drenched in premium dark chocolate and topped with crunchy sea salt,” resemble the Sanders brand at Costco and come in very similar 36-ounce canisters. It also has a fairly recognizable backstory: “made from a century-old family recipe” and “slowly in small batches.” Additionally, the candies are significantly cheaper than the comparable Costco item, just like certain other Sam’s Club products in recent years (looking at you, hot dog combo!). Sam’s caramels with salt were $10.58.

After attempting a free sample in-store, one reviewer posted last month on Sam’s Club’s website, “These are amazing!” “Normally I don’t try anything when I’m shopping, but I just can’t resist anything with chocolate AND caramel.” Another person commented, “These are the best salted dark chocolate with the most buttery caramel centers ever—outstanding and better than any See’s or other chocolatier products!”
Sam’s frequently sells a store-brand version of a well-liked Costco product. For example, the competing company also sells Kirkland Signature Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets, which are a popular item at Costco. One buyer recently wrote on Reddit, “The members mark ones are literally exactly the same.”

Additionally, it’s probably not the first imitation of Sanders’ well-known candies. In 2016, Sanders CEO Brian Jefferson told Winsight Grocery Business that the company’s original sea salt caramels “sparked a major phenomenon in the chocolate category when we first introduced them.”

Sam’s Club, like Costco, doesn’t frequently reveal the names of the suppliers of its private-label goods, and Sanders Candy did not reply to requests for comment. It is therefore unknown whether the rival candies are produced by the same confectioner or by completely separate ones.

There are some minute distinctions between the individually branded candies despite how closely they resemble one another in terms of both flavor and texture and how similar they seem and taste. Sam’s caramels contain a number of ingredients that aren’t specified on the Sanders label, like vanilla extract and brown sugar. They also seem to be a little bigger. The average weight of the Sam’s candy was 7.8 ounces, compared to 7.6 ounces for Sanders, after five randomly selected pieces of each sweet were weighed on a digital scale.

No matter the warehouse-club goods you select, it will be far less expensive than purchasing it straight from Sanders. The Michigan-based producer offers a little smaller 32-ounce tub of its original sea salt caramels for sale on its website for nearly double the price: $21.99.

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