The Secrets Behind Costco’s Famous $4.99 Rotisserie Chickens

Ever wonder what these tasty chickens mean for your health?


The $4.99 chickens really are a great deal

There really isn’t a sneaky catch to these low-cost meals. Most supermarkets sell their rotisserie chickens within a range of $5 and $7, reports the Wall Street Journal. But those places might be skimping on the size of their birds. According to the same report, Costco’s chickens weigh at least three pounds cooked, while rivals’ usually weigh one-and-a-half to two pounds. These are the things you should never, ever buy at Costco.

Costco sells a lot of them

Costco sells an average 157,000 chickens a day. In 2017, they sold 87 million over the course of the year. But if you think the store is making a fortune off these things, you’d be wrong.

The retailer actually loses money on their chickens

According to Costco’s chief financial officer, the retailer loses between $30 and $40 million a year on the chickens. Still, they refuse to raise their prices to a more reasonable $5.99. The reason: They really believe $5.99 is how much a chicken should cost. “That’s us,” said the CFO on a call with analysts. “That’s what we do.” In a less selfless way, the chickens keep foot traffic high at the store, which benefits its bottom line.

The chickens are extra salty

If you’ve ever tasted a Costco chicken before, you know they can be incredibly salty (and, in turn, incredibly tasty). That’s because they’re injected with a special saline solution to add flavor. The birds pack in a total 460 milligrams of sodium each.

They’re “processed foods”…

But they don’t pack in that many unexpected ingredients. The chickens are typically seasoned in factories before being shipped to Costco, which is what earns them their “processed food” title. Even Dr. Oz reassured viewers that the birds are some of the healthiest processed foods out there—and removing the skins makes them even healthier. Win!

They have a cult following

There is, in fact, a Costco Rotisserie Chicken fan page on Facebook, with more than ten thousand followers. Additionally, there are rotisserie chicken recipes that star these chickens, and leftover chicken recipes that can spark new ideas.
Rest assured, Costco’s rotisserie chickens really are healthy-ish wins for consumers.