Costco Rotisserie Chicken

Tim Y./Yelp

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Despite inflation’s persistence, Costco hasn’t raised the price of its famed $4.99 rotisserie chicken since 2009. And it turns out that the wholesaler occasionally sells the birds for even cheaper,according to a popular Reddit thread.

When a Costco shopper posted a photo of their receipt showing two differently priced chickens, employees and fans responded with a simple explanation. If the chicken is under three pounds, it’s considered underweight and is sold at a lower price. It might be $4.83 instead of $4.99, for example.

An 11-year “veteran” employee offered further insight, adding that grocery store employees place the underweight Costco chickens in different containers with different labels. And when you reach checkout, the cashier simply scans each ready-to-eat chicken individually. That said, the broilers have a $4.99 price ceiling, so you could get lucky if you pick a large bird.

Apart from selling the birds as a loss leader, Costco also controls the supply chain from the chicken farm to the slaughterhouse. The $450-million vertically integrated chicken production plant in Nebraska saves the company 35 cents per broiler, according to CNN.

This is particularly impressive given the current state of the poultry industry. Although demand is high, most Americans prefer to purchase chicken breasts, legs, thighs, nuggets, and wings rather than the entire bird, CNN reports. Consequently, it’s even harder to find poultry farms that sell whole birds that are the right size for Costco’s rotisserie chicken. Despite Americans' preference for breast meat, the retailer still sells tens of millions of rotisserie birds every year.

The grocery chain’s $1.50 hot dog deal has also boosted the store’s status as a low-cost retailer. And Costco is dedicated to defending that reputation. Last year, the company’s Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti vowed that the hot dog would remain $1.50 "forever.”

Gallery: 24 Costco Foods With Cult Followings

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