Costco Shoppers Are Noticing A Strange 'Soapy' Taste To Rotisserie Chicken

We don't have to tell you that Costco's rotisserie chickens are cheap. In fact, selling these three-pound birds for $4.99 a pop costs the chain almost $40 million in losses every year. But while Costco loses money on these massive poultry products, its notoriously cost-effective chickens brings flocks of people into its stores, and thus, flocks of money into its pockets. However, recently, shoppers have noticed something afoot.

In 2022, Costco ran into some trouble with consumers when it was revealed the retailer was allegedly abusing the chickens that end up on its store shelves. But even after the chain was accused of breeding the animals to be so big they couldn't stand up straight, Costco still sold 117 million of its rotisserie roasted birds in 2022. Yet now, some shoppers may stop buying Costco rotisserie chicken for another reason. 

According to a Reddit thread, some customers have found that the taste of the chain's poultry centerpiece to be off. But it's not as simple as the chicken tasting extra salty. No, some consumers report that the last rotisserie chickens they bought from Costco had a soap-like flavor.

Customers aren't sure what's going on with Costco's rotisserie chickens

"What's up with the rotisserie chicken lately?" was the question posed by one Redditor in a thread on February 26. They found their recently purchased bird had "a distinct chemical flavor to it." And the user was quick to discover they weren't the only shopper who thought the chicken's taste was different. 

In the replies, one Redditor reported they thought they had COVID-19 when they dug into their Costco rotisserie chicken and found it tasted "chemically and soapy." And another user stated they "100% have had the same thing happen." But then things got a bit interesting.

One replier confirmed that they have also, in fact, had bad, chemical-tasting chickens from Costco in the past. But they proceeded to note that the last few chickens they bought from the store tasted normal. And even more strangely, this isn't the first time shoppers have complained that the poultry they bought from Costco tasted off. Another Reddit thread from last year is also filled with Costco members lamenting about biting into almost chemical-flavored Costco rotisserie chickens. Fortunately, some self-identified Costco employees were able to provide a little insight into what might be going on with the chain's chickens.

The taste of your Costco rotisserie chicken might depend on the supplier of the bird

According to self-identified employees on Reddit, Costco doesn't source its poultry from one place. The chain reportedly gets its chickens from both its own Nebraska-based facility and Foster Farms. And one employee claimed that while the chicken from Costco's Nebraska facility tastes good, Foster Farms' birds do not. 

The employee wrote that the Foster Farms chickens are low-quality and "cook differently" than the ones supplied by Costco. The same associate reported that if the rotisserie chicken you snagged from the bulk retailer tastes off, it's probably a "Foster Farm chicken." 

And although they did not specify the other supplier's name, another employee reported that the workers at their warehouse also refer to the chickens sourced from Costco's facility as the "good" kind and the chicken sourced from the other suppliers' as the "bad" kind. Like the other employee, the associate went on to report that the "bad chicken" was difficult to cook, citing it often fell off the skewer. So, what's a Costco lover to do? According to one of the associates, you can try asking your Costco's chicken employees which one of those birds are the '"good" ones. There's a very good chance they'll know exactly what you're talking about.