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Costco Shoppers Are Noticing an Issue With the Famous Rotisserie Chicken

If you've recently noticed a "chemical" taste in your Costco rotisserie chicken, you're not alone.

Whoever dares to criticize Costco's famous rotisserie chicken risks angering its loyal fanbase. For example, when celebrity chef David Chang dismissed the popular birds as "inedible" during a recent episode of his podcast, he received a firestorm of backlash from customers who defended the bargain-priced $4.99 chickens and accused him of "elitism."

But not even the most devoted customers have been able to ignore a concerning issue they've started to notice with the beloved product. One Costco customer recently took to Reddit to ask fellow members if the retail giant had made any changes to the rotisserie chickens after detecting an off-putting "chemical flavor."

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"Same thing happened last time, about 3 weeks ago," the user added. "This was never a problem before, been buying it for years, has something changed recently?"

Many Costco customers reported the same problem in the comments section under the post.

"Thank you for posting this. I thought I was losing it/had COVID again when I tried a rotisserie chicken recently and it tasted…chemically and soapy? So odd," one Reddit user replied.

Another commented that they stopped eating Costco rotisserie chickens roughly a year ago because of that same "strange chemical taste."

The full extent of the issue remains unclear. Some of the Reddit users said that they've only encountered the off-putting taste in rotisserie chickens every now and then, while the rest have tasted normal.

"I've had that happen every now and then, but it's rare. I'm probably [in the] top 1% of rotisserie chicken consumers world wide (seriously, I eat 4-5 a week) and it's happened less than a handful of times," one customer said. The user added that they believe the normal-sized rotisserie chickens, rather than the really small or really big ones, generally taste the best.

And while the cause of the reported chemical taste is also unclear, that didn't stop Costco members from speculating.

One user who claimed to work for Costco explained that their warehouse gets chicken from two different suppliers. They consider one of those suppliers to be worse than the other, so the chickens with the unpleasant taste may come from the inferior supplier, the Reddit user suggested.

Others wondered if the rotisserie chickens' packaging or any potential residue left on equipment used to cook the chickens could be to blame. Reddit users encouraged any fellow members who had experienced the issue to look into getting a refund from Costco.

Regardless of any chemical taste problems, demand for the rotisserie chickens has not slowed. Costco sold 117 million of the birds in 2022, roughly 11 million more than in the previous year.

Costco was contacted for comment on the rotisserie chicken complaints but did not immediately respond.

Zoe Strozewski
Zoe Strozewski is a News Writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Read more about Zoe
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