TikTok is getting a free lesson in branding and packaging after a viral video showed water bottles bearing the Kroger label found on a Costco shelf.
In the video, which has been viewed over 449,100 times since it was first posted on Dec. 2, TikToker Andrey Maz (@andrey_maz27) demanded an explanation from his Detroit, Michigan, area Costco after discovering bottles with Kroger labels inside a package with Costco’s signature Kirkland label.
“So Kroger and Costco have the same water?” Maz wondered aloud before ending his TikTok.
In an interview with the Daily Dot, Maz said he had never seen Kroger water bottles at his Costco location before.
“I have never seen any other products with different labels in the Costco, but who knows?” Maz told the Dot.
Viewers were quick to inform Maz about Niagara Bottling, the company that supposedly packages water for Costco—and possibly Kroger. “Someone forgot to change to the Costco film roll and nobody caught it. They bottle for different companies but it’s all the same water,” one assured.
@andrey_maz27 explain yourselves #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #michigan #meijers #costco #kroger #detroit #water #food #foodie ♬ original sound – Andrey Maz
According to another viewer, the Kroger label has always been on the bottles sold in Costco. “It has always said Kroger on the bottom of the Kirkland bottles. It’s hard to see, but it’s there,” user @j_carrillo218 pointed out.
“A Costco employee told me this himself! Said people just love paying for the brand name but it’s all the same thing,” a shopper revealed.
A former Niagara plant worker revealed that the company bottles water for BJ’s Wholesale, Costco, Food Lion, Gatorade, Sam’s Club, and Walmart, among other chains.
“Your Kroger cream cheese and stuff like that come from the same place that Walmart gets theirs from,” user @luffydjacob shared.
“Costco pays some companies to put their Kirkland name on it,” another viewer wrote, pointing to Kirkland brand batteries as being made by Duracell.
This can cause problems in store checkouts, according to some employees. “I worked for Aldi for years and once we had a rack full of target milk. I was so confused when it wouldn’t ring up till I looked at the label,” one viewer said.
The Daily Dot reached out to Maz via Instagram direct message and to Costco via its website.