Is WinCo Owned By Costco?

Have you ever wondered what the connection is between WinCo and Costco? They’re both super affordable grocery suppliers with unbeatable deals and great reputations among their employees, so the association makes sense. Keep reading to find out whether WinCo is owned by Costco.

WinCo Foods
Holcombe of Hidalgo via Flickr

Are WinCo And Costco Related?

While WinCo and Costco certainly have things in common as major retailers that offer great deals on groceries and other necessary items, these two companies are not technically related. WinCo is a privately held, majority employee-owned company based in Boise, Idaho, while Costco is a multinational big box retail corporation. Keep reading to find out about all of the specific differences between these two companies.

Is Winco 100% Employee-Owned?

One of the coolest things about shopping at WinCo is that they have an amazing reputation with their employees. Part of the reason for this is that WinCo is majority employee owned. For over 30 years, WinCo has operated its Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), a program allowing employees to purchase stocks in the company, which has resulted in a current rate of 83% employee ownership of the company.

If you believe that names can influence the life of a person or company, then WinCo is definitely an example that supports this theory. WinCo is a shortened version of the phrase “Winning Company.” Sounds like they set themselves up for success!

The biggest difference between WinCo and companies like Costco is that WinCo is an exclusively US-based supermarket chain operating primarily in the western United States, while Costco is a multinational corporation and one of the largest retailers in the world. Another big difference is that WinCo is a retailer while Costco is a wholesaler. 

So, what’s the difference between wholesale and retail? Wholesale companies buy goods directly from manufacturers or distributors and sell those goods in bulk, while retailers buy goods in smaller quantities from wholesalers for resale. This is why retailers often charge slightly higher prices than wholesalers, because the goods have passed through more stages of the distribution process and therefore, prices have been marked up one additional time.

Is WinCo a union?

Although WinCo is certainly worker-driven in many ways, WinCo employees have consistently chosen not to unionize over the years.

Which Is Better: WinCo Or Costco?

Comparing WinCo and Costco can get complicated because each store is different, with benefits to both. Generally speaking, Costco does offer lower prices on a lot of items because of the fact that they buy directly from manufacturers. Unlike retailers, Costco does not have to mark up their prices as much in order to make a profit. WinCo, on the other hand, is a retailer, so their prices on some things will be a bit higher than at Costco. That said, we have been told that things like bulk pantry items at WinCo (the food you get out of the bulk bins rather than buying them packaged) do tend to be cheaper than at Costco. Keep reading to find out what other items tend to be cheaper at WinCo!

One of the primary benefits of choosing to shop at WinCo over Costco is that you don’t need to pay for a membership to shop there.

People Who Prefer WinCo Over Costco

Although Costco might be able to offer lower prices on everything, there are still certain things that shoppers can find for less at WinCo.

Here is a list of items that are generally less expensive at WinCo than at Costco:

  • Produce
  • Bulk pantry staples (such as beans, oats, nuts, etc.)
  • Cereal
  • Peanut butter
  • Honey
  • Chia seeds
  • Rice
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Baking essentials (such as baking powder, baking soda, chocolate chips etc.)
  • Spices

People Who Prefer Costco Over WinCo?

Now, there are plenty of items that shoppers prefer to buy at Costco over WinCo.

Here is a list of items that are generally less expensive at Costco:

  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels
  • Canned goods
  • Frozen foods
  • Butter
  • Meat
  • Cleaning products
  • Supplements
  • Toiletries
  • Over-the-counter medications

What Is Great About WinCo?

The best thing about shopping at WinCo is that all shoppers get access to low prices every day without needing to pay for a membership. By shopping at this US-based retailer, you will also be supporting an employee-owned company and keeping your dollars circulating in the US economy.

What Is The Best Time To Shop At WinCo?

Because WinCo offers such unbeatable prices, their stores are often quite busy. So, if you’d like to avoid the crowds, the best times to shop are in the mid-morning between 10am and noon, or in the evening after about 7pm. Many WinCo locations are open 24 hours a day, making it easy to find a time to shop when the crowds have dissipated.

To find a WinCo location near you, visit WinCo’s store location tool. There, you can also view each store’s opening and closing hours.


Is Winco meat good quality?

According to WinCo’s website, they sell USDA Choice beef, Grade A poultry, regionally sourced ground beef, and Hormel fresh pork.

Is WinCo cash only?

No. According to WinCo’s website, they accept cash, checks (that meet their standards), debit cards, EBT cards, and WIC.

Is WinCo or Walmart cheaper?

Generally speaking, WinCo’s prices are marginally cheaper than Walmart’s prices on most items.

Do WinCo employees get discounts?

No. WinCo employees do not receive a discount on their purchases. However, they do receive bonuses throughout the year in the form of gift cards and other employee benefits.

Is WinCo publicly traded?

No. WinCo is a privately held, majority employee-owned company.


Overall, we think there are plenty of reasons to shop at both WinCo and Costco. But if you’d like to avoid having to buy a membership to do your weekly grocery shopping, then becoming a regular at your local WinCo store can be a great idea. There, you can find everyday value on things like produce, bulk items, baking ingredients, and more!

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