The Costco chicken plant was conceived to offset the costs of their loss-leading $4.99 rotisserie chickens, as CNN explained back in 2019. The point is that the low priced chicken would lure customers into the store and through a variety of other tempting purchases; But keeping the cost of production at a point where they did not have to raise the price of the chicken proved difficult enough for Costco to expand into sourcing their own chickens.
However, as the Costco Exposed video shows, the most efficient method to procure chickens is to subject them to a life of suffering, as the people who uploaded the video viscerally describe in the accompanying text: “Crowded, filthy barns. Chickens struggling to walk under their own unnatural weight. Bodies burned bare from ammonia-laden litter. Dead days-old chicks. Piles of rotting birds. This is Costco Chicken.”
The scope of the problem also contains the rotisserie chicken’s popularity. In the CNN piece, the writer notes that in 2018, 91 million of the birds were sold. In 2020, as Eat This, Not That! reported, Costco sold 101 million. Their coverage also notes that over 2 million chickens move through the Nebraskan plant each week. If Costco were to accept the Better Chicken Commitment, prices would rise, but for many Costco consumers, a paying more to reduce barbarity may be worth it. Doing so, however, would certainly ruin Costco’s loss leader strategy — but at least they’d still have their $1.50 hot dog and sodas.