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Costco’s Inflation-Proof $4.99 Rotisserie Chicken, Explained

Americans love their chicken, eating some 7.5 billion of them every year. That’s enough for about 23 birds for every man, woman, and child in the country. So the fact that inflation has hit poultry prices particularly hard — chicken prices increased 18.6 percent between June 2021 and June 2022, outpacing inflation for food as a whole — has been tough for Americans to swallow.

But throughout the year of inflation — and for 11 years before that — one poultry product has remained at the same bargain-basement price: Costco’s $4.99 rotisserie chicken.

The roasted birds have been hailed as an economic lifeline — most rotisserie chickens will run you $6 to $10 — but the chicken isn’t cheap because of corporate benevolence. In 2015, Costco said it was able to maintain its low price because the company considers the rotisserie chicken a “loss leader.”