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Costco Shoppers Are Reporting Major Quality Issues With a Popular Frozen Meal

Customer complaints about the fan-favorite chicken are ramping up.

In an uncertain economy where grocery bills continue to soar, Costco has remained a trusty source of high-quality bulk products at reasonable prices.  One of the chain's standout offerings is Crazy Cuizine Mandarin Orange Chicken, clocking in at just $15.69 (prices vary depending on location) for two bags totaling 66 ounces. The item is currently on sale as part of Costco's monthly deals.

The Crazy Cuisine brand chicken, which can be cooked in the oven (preferred), air fryer, or stovetop, was lauded by fans on Reddit as "an incredibly easy and delicious weeknight meal." The brand also came out on top in our taste test against a similar product at Trader Joe's.

Unfortunately, since last year's taste test, customers have begun noticing a decline in the product's quality. A Costco shopper took to Reddit yesterday to complain about what used to be a favorite staple in their freezer: "We used to love the Costco orange chicken, would eat it with a bag of frozen broccoli like twice a week. But, maybe like six months ago, we noticed the quality get worse. Like, bites of the chicken were chewy. Has anyone else noticed this change? We don't even buy it anymore because it has gotten so gross."

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crazy cuizine mandarin orange chicken

Other shoppers quickly chimed in, and within hours there were several other negative reviews of Costco's Crazy Mandarin Orange Chicken.

"Lots of chewy/fatty pieces of chicken. Kids would not eat it and I can't blame them," one person wrote.

A few posters agreed that the meat seemed to be chewier, and formed a consensus that the breading also got thicker.

"Yes! And I've noticed the breading is waaay thicker. There's like cartilage or something in the them," a Redditor commented.

"Yes, I noticed the breading being way thicker than it used to be. Seems like a lot less actual chicken and way more starch filler," another person agreed.

Other posters also noted a decline in the quality of rival Trader Joe's orange chicken. A few remedied the situation by buying Kirkland's frozen chicken and orange sauce separately to mix together when cooking, or by switching to their Korean frozen chicken instead.

"Better to just buy the frozen breaded Kirkland chicken and orange sauce separately. Likely cheaper too per serving (haven't run the numbers, just the eyeball test)," one recommended.

"That's what we started doing, same for 'boneless BBQ wings,'" another agreed.

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However, not all Costco shoppers were ready to discount its orange chicken just yet. Some said they didn't notice the change at all.

"They're still good imo. I haven't experienced what the rest of the comments are saying, and I literally ate this last week. I'm surprised so many people have had this experience when I've been thinking it's been good and just fine," one poster said.

"It is still good we eat this once a week," said another.

Costco did not immediately respond to a query for comment on the orange chicken complaints.

Clara Wang
Clara Wang is a freelance writer based in Austin, TX who mostly muses about food, culture, sex, and the unbearable lightness of being a 5’0” Yellow girl quicker on her feet than Borat’s lawyers. Read more about Clara