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13 Amazing Facts About Costco's Rotisserie Chicken

The warehouse chain sells millions of rotisserie chickens each year.

Few things are as satisfying as a supermarket rotisserie chicken. The birds are perfectly cooked and seasoned, the skin is crispy, and they're ready to take home and serve. But if there's one star of the pack, it's the Costco rotisserie chicken, which costs just $4.99 and is bigger than the birds you'll find at many supermarkets.

Even Kris Jenner—who could have any chicken she wanted, let's be honest—is a fan of Costco's rotisserie chicken. And who's to say that each whole rotisserie chicken Adam Driver apparently ate every day as a Juilliard student wasn't from Costco, too?

But these two celebrities aren't the only ones who can't stop talking about, thinking about, and gobbling up rotisserie chickens, especially from Costco. The chicken is a major "loss leader" for the brand, and it has a cult following at this point. Last year alone, the warehouse chain sold 91 million rotisserie chickens.

If you haven't yet partaken, then you might want to consider getting yourself a Costco membership card and picking one up for dinner, even if only for the sake of being able to participate in the watercooler conversation. In the meantime, here are a few facts about Costco's rotisserie chicken that you probably don't know.


Costco hasn't raised the price since 2009.

Costco parking lot

If Adam Driver were eating a Costco chicken-per-day in 2009 (the year Costco rolled out its rotisserie chickens), we know what he was paying: $4.99. Today's shoppers won't pay a penny more, thanks to Costco's commitment to holding the price steady, notwithstanding economic inflation, which has led its competitors to up their rotisserie chicken prices by at least 20 percent.

Costco has no current plans to raise the price either, despite that the $4.99 price leads to millions of dollars in losses for the store each year. Why? Keep reading…


The rotisserie chicken is a major loss leader for Costco.

rows of costco rotisserie chicken
calimedia / Shutterstock

A "loss leader" is supermarket-speak for an item sold below its actual market value for the purpose of attracting customers to the store, where it's hoped they will spend lots of money on big-ticket items and items that simply offer less value.

That is precisely what the rotisserie chicken is, and has been, for Costco, whose business model relies on customers purchasing flat-fee memberships just to enter the store and then purchasing lots of stuff they didn't realize they "needed."


You'll always find it at the back of the store.


You don't have to visit every Costco in America to know that you'll always find the rotisserie chicken at the back of the store. That's because its placement there is a corporate strategy.

The idea is that as customers make their way to the back of the store for the rotisserie chicken, they will pass through lots of other aisles, picking up plenty of other, more expensive items along the way.


You can't roast it yourself for any cheaper.

Whole chicken

Theoretically, the cheapest way to buy chicken is by picking up the whole uncooked bird, because you won't be paying for someone to cut it into parts or prepare or cook it. That's not true at Costco, however, where the rotisserie chickens are actually cheaper than whole, uncooked birds.


Costco rotisserie chickens always weigh around three pounds cooked.


While the rotisserie birds you might find at a supermarket weigh around two pounds, Costco's birds clock in closer to three pounds. You might even bring home a bird that's more than three pounds, making the $4.99 price point an even bigger bargain. Just don't expect a bird that weighs more than six pounds, because those won't fit on the rotisserie spits.


The ingredients are simple—but the spices are still a mystery.

costco chicken in packaging
Arne Beruldsen/Shutterstock

There are 10 ingredients included in Costco's rotisserie chicken, according to the label. But if you're hoping to find out exactly what spices are used in the chicken's seasoning, you're out of luck. The last ingredient is simply "spice extractives," but Costco isn't sharing just which spices are included.


Costco chicken is Dr. Oz-recommended.


Dr. Oz has assured his viewers that Costco's rotisserie chicken is one of the "healthiest processed foods out there, especially if you remove the skin (which I most certainly won't, in case you're wondering). It's also among the healthier of pre-cooked rotisserie chickens available in the marketplace.


There's a secret way to know if a new batch is ready.

packages of costco rotisserie chicken

In case you're concerned about Costco running out of its rotisserie chickens before you can make your way to the back of the store, we've got it on good authority that when you hear the bell ringing from the Costco deli, it means a fresh batch is ready. Now go, go, go before the rest of the shoppers beat you to it.


The Costco rotisserie chicken is gluten-free.

rotisserie chicken packages at costco
David Tonelson/Shutterstock

Costco proudly labels its rotisserie chickens "gluten-free," which is great for customers who may have a gluten sensitivity. Some rotisserie chickens include flour to help the skin crisp up, but Costco's chickens don't.


Costco has its own chicken plant.

Raw chicken breasts

In October, to ensure a steady supply of its three-pound chickens, Costco opened its own chicken farm and processing plant in Fremont, Nebraska. The plant cost $450 million, and its goal is to process two million chickens a week, which will amount to approximately one-third of Costco's rotisserie chicken requirements.


There's been some backlash to the new plant, too.

Costco sign
Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock

It's expected that Costco's new Fremont plant will employ 800 workers, will include approximately 520 chicken barns, and will consume 4,000 acres worth of corn and soybean crops, according to the Omaha World-Herald. Although Costco has positioned the opening of the plant as a socially-responsible move, it's been criticized for having a significant, negative environmental impact, including water contamination from farm runoff.


Costco's rotisserie workers are paid well and get health benefits.

Costco parking

Compared with other retail industry jobs, Costco has a reputation for compensating its workers fairly. Hourly workers at Costco are also eligible to receive health insurance. So one thing you don't have to worry about when you eat a Costco rotisserie chicken is the welfare of the people who prepared the chicken behind the deli counter.

RELATED: The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.


You can follow the Costco rotisserie chicken on Facebook.

costco rotisserie chicken packages
David Tonelson/Shutterstock

Do people say you love Costco's rotisserie chicken so much that you should marry it? While you can't legally do that, you can friend it on Facebook (or, at least, you can follow it) and get all the latest news, updates, photos, and love letters from adoring, obsessed consumers. More than 17,000 people have already followed Costco Rotisserie Chicken's Facebook page. So, what are you waiting for?

Whether you like eating the rotisserie chicken shredded into quesadillas, as part of homemade chicken soup, or just straight off the bones, you can't go wrong with a Costco rotisserie chicken.

Lauren Cahn
Lauren Cahn is a food, health, and culture writer whose work has appeared online and in print for Reader's Digest as well as Health Digest, Huffington Post, Taste of Home, and others. Read more about Lauren
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