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What It Means If Your Costco Rotisserie Chicken Is Cheaper Than Usual

rotisserie chicken on a plate
rotisserie chicken on a plate - calimedia/Shutterstock

While many consumers are worried about inflation and shrinkflation, you probably shouldn't worry too much about getting less Costco rotisserie chicken. If you do get less chicken, then it's likely the chain's not charging you for it. The warehouse chain typically charges $4.99 for its store-cooked birds, but some shoppers have noticed they've paid less for certain birds at the chain. Taking to Reddit, one shopper wrote, "My Costco has rotisserie chicken that costs less than $4.99. It's $4.30."

While we haven't been able to corroborate that this is store policy, some other Reddit users who claim to be Costco employees explained that this is because the chickens weighed less than Costco's standard. As one Reddit user put it, "I currently work in the service deli and we get sent chickens of all random weights and sizes. Costco has a weight standard for the [$]4.99 price... anything smaller than that size gets weighed and either sold at a smaller [sic] price as it's fair to the members or harvested for meat for our other ready-to-eat meals."

This would explain the discount as, along with other secrets, Costco's rotisserie chicken has a set weight. That means the chain guarantees all its birds live up to this standard.

Read more: The 12 Best Grocery Store Rotisserie Chickens, Ranked

How Big Are Costco Chickens?

rotisserie chicken on a board
rotisserie chicken on a board - grafvision/Shutterstock

Costco's rotisserie chickens reportedly weigh 3 pounds in size, including bones. Although, you'll likely get less meat off the chicken than that. It's unknown if Costco weighs its rotisserie chickens before or after cooking. However, it's worth noting that rotisserie chickens generally shrink in size when cooked. This is due to a loss of moisture when cooked, resulting in a smaller mass.

So, while you may be paying less for that underperforming chicken, the jury's out on whether you are getting a better deal. Generally, many grocery stores use rotisserie chickens to sell their smaller birds. John Stanton, a food marketing expert at St. Joseph's University, told Hi's Eye, "When smaller chickens come in, stores will often have trouble selling them. But when they are turned into rotisserie chickens, there's no problem. It's an easy way to get rid of smaller birds."

You'll likely get more meat per dollar if you buy a chicken and cook it yourself. However, it's hard to argue with the convenience of having a ready-made dinner that you don't have to cook yourself. The fact that Costco appears to adjust its price for underweight birds is likely a vote of confidence for many customers, who wonder why the store's rotisserie chickens are so cheap to begin with.

Why Costco Charges So Little For Its Chickens

rotisserie chicken with a knife in chef's hand
rotisserie chicken with a knife in chef's hand - Annapolisstudios/Getty Images

If you've wondered why Costco has kept its chickens at around $5 when the competition has raised theirs, it all comes down to the value of a good deal. Costco believes that its low costs and deals are what drive its membership to customers every year. Generally, Costco makes most of its money from these yearly subscriptions to its grocery chains. While it may be willing to raise its prices on its memberships, it has remained steadfast in not driving up its food prices. From a business perspective, this is what entices members to come back each year.

"I can only tell you what history has shown us: When others were raising their chicken prices from $4.99 to $5.99, we were willing to eat, if you will, $30 to $40 million a year in gross margin by keeping it at $4.99," Richard Galanti, Costco's chief financial officer, said during an earnings call (via The Seattle Times). "That's what we do for a living." That is why Costco is willing to further discount its rotisserie chickens if they're not meeting the same standard as the rest. Ultimately, providing these incentives encourages shoppers to return to the retail warehouse each week.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.