Why That Rotisserie Chicken Is So Cheap
Stores wisely cook up birds about to hit their expiration date: Megan McArdle
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 25, 2014 11:57 AM CDT
   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Those who like chicken might have noticed a seemingly weird quirk in the grocery store: It's generally cheaper to buy a fully cooked rotisserie chicken than to buy a raw chicken and prepare it yourself at home, writes Megan McArdle at Bloomberg View. Cooking food yourself is typically cheaper, so why the exception here? McArdle cites a post at KCET that explains what's going on: Supermarkets use chickens that are about to hit their sell-by expiration date for those rotisseries. In fact, they do it not just with chicken but with many of the offerings in the prepared-food department.

Underhanded? No, writes McArdle. It's actually kind of brilliant. Instead of taking a loss on the still-fine food, the stores cook it up and serve it hot. "This is the sort of thing that no one talks about when they talk about innovation—and yet, it’s a major way in which our economy has become more efficient over the last few decades," she writes. The practice benefits both the store and the consumer, and it reduces spoilage to boot. Click for her full post.

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Showing 3 of 95 comments
kumatose
Jul 27, 2014 10:41 AM CDT
If I bought a chicken and put into my refrigerator, then in a few days noticed the expiration date was tomorrow... I'd cook it today. The idea of a grocery store doing this too, just makes common sense.
CaptainStubing
Jul 26, 2014 9:09 PM CDT
Is it cheaper than rotisserie baseball?
Myke Hermann
Jul 26, 2014 10:40 AM CDT
A friend who worked as a butcher in the meat department of a large chain grocery store told me to never buy meat products from the Deli, and why. Beef started out in the meat department as a whole side of beef that gets cut into large cuts like roasts. When the expiration dates on the roasts is reached, rather than being disposed of as they should, they go back under the knife and get cut into steaks. Viola! New expiration date. When that date passes, they get cut up again into smaller steaks or strip-steaks with another new expiration date. Once those expire they get cubed or cut into stew meat, with yet another new expiration date. Expired stew meat? No problem, grind it into hamburger and you get another new exiration date. Now you don't have to wonder why ground beef can turn brown/green/slimy almost as soon as you get it home. And once the ground beef expiration date passes? Why mix it with similarly expired ground pork, spices, etc and make sausage. When they finally run out of ways to repackage meat to get a new expiration date it goes to the Deli where it gets cooked and sold. I haven't purchased any meat containing product from the Deli since being told about how it gets there. Using something like canned goods that are past thier "best by" date is one thing, but meat that should have been discarded weeks ago is disgusting.