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Why Inflation Isn’t Hurting Rotisserie Chicken Prices

The price of just about everything seems to be climbing these days — with at least one strange exception.

Stores across the nation are keeping the price of rotisserie chickens low, NPR reports. At BJ’s, Costco and Sam’s Club, you will still find them for under $5. Other stores continue to sell them for around $7.

As we have reported, chicken prices overall have been climbing for at least a couple of years. They are up 16.4% year over year — the largest 12-month increase on record for chicken in general.

Prices for fresh whole chickens specifically are up 14.6% year over year, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

So, how have rotisserie chickens escaped managed to escape this fowl trend?

Ernest Baskin, an associate professor of food marketing at Saint Joseph’s University, tells NPR that holding firm on the price of rotisserie chicken is a tried-and-true strategy known as “loss-leader pricing.” He says:

“It is a way of the store giving you a discount on a very highly prominent item and then making up the money on some of the other items in the store.”

Those rotisserie chickens are highly visible in stores, and many customers cannot resist the siren song of a bargain bird. Shoppers who know that a chain is keeping the price of a popular item low are more likely to keep shopping there as their store of choice.

As Baskin also says:

“It’s also in the store an aura of saying, ‘Look, our prices are generally very low. We don’t raise them unless we absolutely have to.’ They’re giving a cheapness aura to the store, which is helpful for consumers when they’re concerned about their spending power.”

The Costco food court’s hot dog-and-soda combo is another example of a loss leader that remains immune to inflation. Rather remarkably, the price — $1.50 — has been the same since the 1980s, and a Costco representative said in late May that they “have no plans to increase the price at this time.”

For more, check out “7 Ways Costco Is Changing in 2022.”

Baskin says customers who continue to get what they perceive as a great deal on one item are likely to feel better even if they know they are spending more on many other items.

For more on how psychology plays a pivotal role in the pricing decisions of your favorite stores, check out:

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