Costco Customers Outraged Over Change to Popular Rotisserie Chickens

Some Costco customers are upset after the retailer changed its rotisserie chicken packaging.

The chickens used to come in plastic "clamshell" containers. Now, Costco sells them in plastic food service bags.

Costco says this change is for the environment. It started in March 2024 and is now in all U.S. stores, reported Consumer Reports.

In its June 2024 magazine, Costco Connections, Costco explained the benefits.

"You may have noticed a classic Costco item in a different container: Kirkland Signature™ Seasoned Rotisserie Chicken now comes in a bag. Based on projected rotisserie chicken sales in 2024 in the U.S., the new packaging will save an estimated 17 million pounds of plastic every year," said Costco.

"The bag also takes less space to transport; one pallet of the new bags is equivalent to five pallets of the old packaging, so Costco can remove 1,000 of its freight trucks from the road each year. The use of fewer transportation vehicles will eliminate over 4,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually," they added.

But many customers are unhappy with the new packaging. They say it’s worse than the old rigid plastic design.

"This was a rare Costco L tbh," business writer Trung Phan posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

He said the bags are very leaky and bad for storing leftovers. Customers also can't pick out good chickens.

Another user on X complained about the leaks.

"Your new roast chicken bags leak like crazy. Whole trunk was soaked by the time I got home. Two bags both leaking," said X user @rengle83.

On Reddit, the r/Costco subreddit has many posts about the new bags.

"New rotisserie chicken packaging looks prone to leaks," posted Reddit user "LoveOfSpreadsheets," with a photo of a leaking chicken bag.

Many Reddit users said the new bags aren’t recyclable in their cities, unlike the old clamshell containers.

"Unfortunately at least in my area the bags are not eligible for curbside recycling. As a result, most of them will go to the landfill," said Reddit user "bonsree," adding that the change is "a leap backwards in my book."

"Can't recycle plastic bags in my city. But we can recycle hard plastics," said user "trowdatawhey."

Costco’s rotisserie chicken has cost $4.99 at all locations for decades. It’s one of the chain’s most popular items.

In January 2024, Costco CEO Ron Vachris revealed that the company sold 137 million rotisserie chickens in 2023. This was 20 million more than in 2022.