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Costco Sold Over 100 Million of This Grocery Staple Last Year, CEO Says

Sales are so high, Costco built a processing plant just for this item.

If the $4.99 rotisserie chicken from Costco is a favorite at your house, you're not alone—the grocery chain sold 101 million units in 2020, CEO Craig Jelinek said recently.

In a virtual shareholder meeting, Jelinek recapped the year for Costco, detailing new warehouses, new delivery methods, the most popular items of the year, and what customers can look forward to in 2021. Meat sales, in general, went up 21% in a year heavily weighed down by a global pandemic, according to Winsight Grocery Business. (Related: Grocery Shortages To Expect in 2021, According to Experts.)

Still, the rotisserie chicken has been a popular item for Costco shoppers to have in their carts for a while now, with 60 million sold before 2018, according to NPR. Even though it's actually a loss leader for the company (meaning the under $5 price is below market value), rotisserie chicken is still an important asset in the warehouse.

In fact, even at such a low price—which hasn't changed since 2009—Costco was able to open a chicken processing plant, hatchery, and feed mill in Fremont, Neb. in 2020 just for pumping out the item. The plant can process more than 2 million chickens per week. Good thing, since every time the bell rings at the Costco deli, that probably means a new batch is ready.

Like the rotisserie chickens, Costco's food court is a big income driver. Last year, 151 million hot dog and soda combos were sold all over the world reports Winsight Grocery Business. Not to worry, though, because, like the chicken, this $1.50 Costco deal hasn't changed in price, and never will.

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Amanda McDonald
Amanda has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a bachelor's degree in digital journalism from Loyola University Chicago. Read more about Amanda