Why Did Costco Change Its Rotisserie Chicken Packaging?

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Earlier this spring, Costco made a massive change to the packaging of a cult-favorite food product, and now longtime fans are noticing — and complaining — about the switch.

Costco sold an estimated 137 million rotisserie chickens in 2023 while still maintaining a price of $4.99, despite inflation and rising production costs. But the company began changing the packaging in March, from its signature hard shell container to a clear bag, a move that's been slowly rolled out into more stories and causing a viral frenzy among loyal shoppers.

“Dear Costco,” one fan penned on X. “Your new rotisserie chicken bags and the chicken inside them is nowhere near what they used to be.”

Related: Costco's New CFO Reveals Fate of $1.50 Hotdog-Soda Combo Amid ‘Media Speculation' and Soaring Earnings

“New recession warning just dropped: Costco is going cheap on their rotisserie chicken container,” another said. “Brace yourselves.”

On Reddit, one user posted that the new bags had leaked upon transfer home, which opened the door to a slew of similar stories.

Chicken juice spilled all over the trunk of our carbyu/Bozerks inCostco

“I recently grabbed two chickens in the bag for the first time. Hated everything about it,” one person wrote on the thread. “The bags were slick with juice on the display (we had to wait for them, so it was from the staff just prepping them), so my hands were then covered in grease with no paper towels anywhere.”

“Talked to an employee about this. They are spilling in peoples' carts and on the checkout counters all day long,” another alleged. “The employees all hate the new bags and there is hope that Costco will find a way to address the issue.”

Costco reportedly swapped the packaging in an attempt to cut back on plastic waste — the new bags will use 75% less plastic than the hard shell containers and save an estimated 17 million pounds for resin each year, per a sign viewed by Packaging Dive.

Costco did not immediately repsond to Entrepreneur's request for comment.

The warehouse chain most recently reported its fiscal Q3 2024 earnings with net sales reaching $57.39 billion, a 9.1% increase in net sales from the same time last year.

CEO Ron Vachris credited the quarterly success to its Wagyu beef offerings, gold bars, and a $1,200 swingset that's been flying off shelves.

Costco EVP and CFO Gary Millerchip also noted on the call that thanks to the company's consistent success, there's no plan as of now to change the cost of its famous $1.50 hot dog combo deal or increase membership rates.

Related: Costco May Stop Selling Books Year-Round. Here's Why.

“We feel really good about membership renewal rates,” Millerchip said on the call. “We look at what's happened in the marketplace over the last few years and when we were seeing high inflation and the risk and concern around recession … we're still evaluating those considerations to determine what the right timing is and when we reach that point where we feel it is the right time, of course, we'll be very open and direct and communicating that.”

Costco was up over 67% year over year as of Monday afternoon.



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