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Costco members leave mixed reviews for newly-added sushi

Jun 23, 2023, 3:26 PM

costco sushi...

(Photo by Daniel Slim via Getty Images)

(Photo by Daniel Slim via Getty Images)

Costco recently unveiled its newest item for the company’s famously-priced food court — sushi — which caused lines and wait times to grow nearly immediately as members wait to try the retailer’s latest cuisine.

Reviews have since piled up quickly online, with customers leaving mixed and unsure replies over the food court’s latest addition.

“I never thought I would enjoy sushi from the same place I buy my tires, but wow! This is super fresh and really delicious. Also very fun to watch them making it,” one Costco member wrote on Reddit.

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“The best way to not get tempted by Costco sushi is actually trying Costco sushi,” another customer wrote. “This was by far the worst sushi I have ever paid for.”

For months, Costco has been undertaking a “secret sushi project,” according to The Seattle Times, which reportedly involved extensive tests that even required teams of Costco employees flying out to Japan to research types of rice. The Issaquah location debuted the company’s first sushi counter — also the first of its kind in the U.S.

“The rice was really good, fish was super fresh and it’s like half the price of our sushi joint,” another customer on Reddit wrote. “It had a little too much mayo and the cucumber was a little thicker than I preferred, but it’s hands down the best grocery store sushi I have ever had. And they are obviously training people, so it’s only up from here. Plus it looks like Willie Wonka’s Sushi Factory in there!”

“We’ve already had it. It is f******* terrible,” one Costco member wrote. “The rice is hard and the fish is near flavorless. I’m not saying this as a sushi snob. I’ve eaten grocery store sushi and thought it was ok in a pinch (is there such a thing as a sushi pinch?).”

Costco made sure to clarify in a press release the sushi counter currently operating in Issaquah is different than the pre-made packaged sushi the retailer has sold at various locations from time to time. The Issaquah location plans to offer 10 different items per day, with fresh batches out four times a day.

The sushi’s price ranges from $14 to $19 which, while much steeper in price than the food court’s $1.50 hot dog, $2 slice of pizza, or the $3 chicken bake (prices that have held constant for the last 30 years, according to CEO W. Craig Jelinek), it is approximately half the cost of most sushi in Seattle.

It has been speculated that the food court and its low prices are just measures to increase foot traffic into the store.

“Are you likely to buy more groceries on a full belly, or an empty stomach? The latter, of course,” Maria Scinto wrote for Mashed. “When you’re hungry, everything looks good. In fact, you’re more apt to purchase all kinds of stuff — not just food — if you shop while starving. And if the whole point in shopping at Costco, as opposed to anywhere else, is enjoying a tasty slice at the end — well, obviously you’re not going to ruin your appetite by snacking before you shop.”

In a third-quarter earnings call last year, Costco Senior Vice President Robert Nelson told investors that there were no plans to increase the food court’s prices — especially the fan-favorite hot dog. Costco sold 151 million hot-dog combos for a total of nearly $226.5 million, according to Business Insider. Jelinek claimed the famously inexpensive snacks are part of what draws people to Costco, and had no interest in increasing the prices despite financial slowdowns during the pandemic.

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“For like $19 for 12 pieces of nigiri, and $18 for a spicy tuna roll that my wife and I split, we got a total of probably 2.5 meals or so,” a Costco member wrote online about the recently released sushi. “A big part of it is the convenience, though — if we are at Costco, worth it. Not sure I’d go specifically for it, though.”

“Unfortunately, their sushi is filled with a lot of c*** (artificial flavors, corn syrup, other fillers, and preservatives),” another customer responded. “Especially not great value if you consider corn syrup is used to increase the weight of the product, and it is already $15/lb for the tuna roll, which is the same price as Sprouts MSRP price for it.”

Costco also unveiled a $9.99 roast beef sandwich earlier this year that appeared at a Costco store in Lynnwood.

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Costco members leave mixed reviews for newly-added sushi