Costco Is Rolling Out a Major Change to Its Rotisserie Chicken — and People Are Not Happy

published Mar 22, 2024
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Tigard, OR, USA - Oct 31, 2023: Closeup of the Costco logo seen at its store in Tigard, Oregon. Costco Wholesale Corporation operates a chain of membership-only big-box retail stores.
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There are a number of reasons why we love shopping at Costco, but nothing can beat that juicy rotisserie chicken for just $4.99. Costco has made it very clear that the price of their iconic rotisserie chicken will never change, even if it means losing tens of millions of dollars a year. Unless, of course, they make a few changes that will cut costs — like swapping out the usual hard clamshell packaging for a thinner plastic bag.

According to a recent Reddit post from user u/ExternalRip312, Costco will be rolling out new plastic packaging in a move to reduce the warehouse’s overall carbon footprint. By selling rotisserie chickens in plastic bags — a switch that other retailers such as Whole Foods and Walmart have already made — Costco is able to reduce plastic use by 75 percent (more than 17 million pounds of plastic a year) and remove 1,000 trucks from roads, resulting in a carbon reduction of 4,000 metric tons. People are already reporting on this change in their warehouses, and customers in Canada claim this packaging swap happened over a year ago. Some speculate that this could save Costco almost $20 million a year.

Of course, with any major change to beloved Costco items, shoppers have thoughts. While making an environmental difference is certainly a pro for this new packaging — as well as being able to hold multiple chickens at once, according to one Reddit user — there are a number of cons that customers can’t help but notice.

The first is the flimsy packaging. It may save a large amount of plastic, but shoppers have already commented on the hot chicken juices leaking from bags, splattering on shoes and all over the bottom of their cars.

The clamshell packaging also allows for chicken-lovers to evaluate the different chickens to choose from. Looking for the plumpest one? Prefer golden or crispy dark skin? The plastic bags make it a bit more difficult to scope out the ideal chicken.

Lastly, for Costco employees, the bags certainly change up the process of preparing chickens to sell. A busy store can sell upwards of 600 chickens a day, so employees have a steady system of moving chickens from skewers to clamshells with ease. Will plastic bags make it harder to slide multiple chickens on a skewer into the new packaging? Will it slow down the process, and will kitchens end up messier?

Only time will tell if these changes make a difference in production, but at least we know one thing: plastic bags make shredding rotisserie chicken a whole lot easier!