For years, budget websites have urged people to buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. Not only is the meat already cooked, often it is seasoned and is hot and ready to eat. Rotisserie chickens are an affordable way for families to eat chicken rather than splurging for take-out that might not be as healthy. But now, the researchers at Consumer Reports have finally figured out if a rotisserie chicken meal is really as good for your health as it is for your wallet, and the answer might surprise you.
Rotisserie chickens are quite popular among Americans. According to an estimate from the National Chicken Council, Americans will purchase 950 million rotisserie chickens from grocery stores each year. That’s a lot of poultry flying off the shelves.
Not only are rotisserie chickens tasty, but they can also provide a high-protein item for a family meal. Plus, they often cost less than a fancy drink at Starbucks.
“Rotisserie chicken is often very competitively priced and a lot cheaper than eating out,” says Anne-Marie Roerink, founder of the grocery market research firm 210 Analytics. Although the item is most popular among younger shoppers, it is purchased across all ages, incomes, and regions of the country. It doesn’t seem like the rotisserie chicken is going anywhere anytime soon.
Now, Consumer Reports has conducted a deep-dive investigation into 16 different rotisserie chicken offerings from across America. The group analyzed the product sold at seven supermarkets (Kroger, Publix, Safeway, Stop & Shop, Walmart, Wegmans, and Whole Foods), three club stores (BJ’s Wholesale Club, Costco, and Sam’s Club), and one fast-casual chain restaurant (Boston Market), according to a report on Yahoo News.
The study did not examine chickens that had been flavored. Instead, they studied only the items that were plain or original.
The findings were surprising because a rotisserie chicken might have more going on than just chicken.
“You can’t assume that all rotisserie chicken is just a plain cooked chicken,” says CR nutritionist Amy Keating, RD.
One reason for this is that stores do something to their chickens before roasting them. Here’s what the National Chicken Council has to say about that.
“Essentially, all rotisserie chickens are enhanced with a solution [injected into the bird] to keep the birds moist and tasty,” says Tom Super, senior vice president of communications for the National Chicken Council.
This injection often includes “unhealthy” things like sugar plus processed ingredients that you might rather avoid. There are also plenty of “natural” ingredients stuffed into these birds. These birds are often loaded with far more salt than you’d ever add at home.
“Natural flavors aren’t necessarily as natural as you might think, and you should generally try to avoid processed ingredients as much as possible,” Keating said.
Before picking up a rotisserie chicken from your grocery store, take a look at the nutrition facts label. Make sure you’re not eating something you don’t think you’re eating, and try to avoid putting too much sugar and salt into your diet as these can have negative health effects like high blood pressure and weight gain.
Every time you share an AWM story, you help build a home for a disabled veteran.