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Costco Sold More Rotisserie Chickens in 2021 as Grocery Prices Hit Record Highs

Will America's largest warehouse chain raise the price of this beloved item because of inflation?

Jim Sinegal, one of the co-founders of Costco, forcefully told CEO Craig Jelinek almost four years ago to never raise the price of the $1.50 hot dog and soda combo in food courts. It's not the only deal that has weathered inflation at America's largest warehouse chain.

Costco sells 100 million rotisserie chickens every year—and they've been the same price for more than a decade! If you're a member, a whole bird only costs $4.99. In fact, the warehouse chain actually loses money on the sticker price in the long run.

Related: 7 Cherished Costco Bakery and Deli Items You Can Get Right Now

Costco hasn't raised the price of its namesake rotisserie chicken since 2009.

costco rotisserie chicken 6
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

The tags on Costco rotisserie chickens have read $4.99 since 2009, thanks to the warehouse's commitment to holding the price steady. While you can still pick one up for less than $5, food prices are at their highest in a decade—and there appears to be little relief in sight.

In many households, the Costco rotisserie chicken is more than a dinnertime staple. It's also a cheap ingredient used in soups and other meals that provides flavor and protein with a fraction of the prep time. That's why we have this handy list of the 45+ Best Soups and Chilis to Make With Costco Rotisserie Chicken.

Members wonder if the chain is going to raise prices because of inflation.

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Though these chickens taste great on their own, there are many ways to enjoy them beyond the old-fashioned way. You can save time and money in the kitchen by using them as an ingredient in delicious, semi-homemade meals. Some users have reported picking up birds as large as 5 pounds, which a small household can stretch across several meals. For some inspiration, here are 12 Meals You Can Make With a Costco Rotisserie Chicken.

Meat prices have increased in other parts of the warehouse as they have across the industry, and many Costco members hope the rotisserie chicken isn't next. Some have taken to social media platforms like Reddit to plead with the warehouse chain not to raise the price.

 

Costco's net sales rose in the last 12 weeks of 2021 to nearly $50 billion—an increase from the same time period in 2020, which saw $42 billion in sales. Other grocery chains and food manufacturing companies are starting to pass along the higher costs of doing business right now to customers.

Several other factors could be lining up a price increase.

Costco rotisserie chicken
Shutterstock

Costco has gotten some heat before about the alleged inhumane treatment of chickens within its supply chain. In February 2021, the New York Times published an opinion piece claiming that thousands of the animals live in "a hot humid cloud of ammonia and poop mixed together."

Organizations have called on the company to raise the price of the rotisserie chicken and use the profits to create better conditions for the animals, as other chains have done.

"Hundreds of companies including Whole Foods have adopted the leading set of chicken welfare standards, the Better Chicken Commitment. It's expected that Costco is planning to do the same, as they should," the Human League told Eat This, Not That! in June 2021.

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Nevertheless, Costco sold more rotisserie chickens than ever in 2021.

costco rostisserie chicken

Nevertheless, the number of rotisserie chickens sold at Costco continues to climb every year. In 2006, 30 million chickens were sold; in 2020, 101 million chickens were sold; and last year, a record was seemingly smashed as 106 million chickens were sold.

For now, only time will tell if the price remains unchanged.

For more on what's happening at your neighborhood warehouse, check out: 

Amanda McDonald
Amanda is a staff writer for Eat This, Not That!. Read more