This Is the Real Reason Grocery Store Rotisserie Chicken Is So Cheap

Hint: it helps limit food waste.

chickenMatt Gardner/Shutterstock

It’s one of the oldest bits of kitchen advice in the books: If you want to save money, skip convenience foods and cook from scratch. This is true for a batch of brownies (about 39 cents for homemade but more than $2 for a boxed mix) and cut fruit (a pineapple is only $2.75 per pound vs. $4.28 if it’s precut), and especially for ready-to-eat meals, which tend to cost nearly twice as much as the ingredients you need to make them. But there’s one food where this rule doesn’t apply: rotisserie chicken. Here are 14 other grocery store items you’re better off making at home.

That’s right: In most grocery stores, the average whole, raw chicken is actually more expensive than its spit-roasted equivalent. Savings aside, it seems to be a much better deal for any busy shopper to invest in a finished dinner—one that doesn’t need to be cleaned, stuffed, seasoned and roasted at home. So why are rotisserie chickens so inexpensive?

Well, it turns out there’s a secret behind your pre-roasted poultry. According to an article published by the California educational television channel KCET, the golden, juicy rotisserie chickens in grocery stores are often the unsold raw chickens that are about to expire. By selling them at a lower price, grocery stores make less money than they would on raw birds, but way more money than they would if they tossed the chickens out. Don’t throw your grocery shopping money out the window either. These are the 19 tricks frugal shoppers use to save money on groceries.

Repurposing unsold products is pretty common in grocery stores. Supermarket consultants have admitted that vegetables and meat are often thrown into pre-made salads or deli items to minimize waste. Even rotisserie chickens that don’t sell are chopped up and thrown into creamy chicken salad! Next, check out the 50 food secrets food manufacturers don’t tell you that could change the way you eat.

Originally Published on Taste of Home