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Costco made a big change to its rotisserie chicken packaging. Shoppers hate it.

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Costco is now bagging its wildly popular rotisserie chicken at some locations as the warehouse club looks to reduce the packaging and environmental cost of storing and transporting the $4.99 product in rigid plastic containers.

The retailer in March started swapping out its hard-plastic packaging with flexible plastic bags akin to what Walmart and Whole Foods use to package their rotisserie chickens. But shoppers have panned the bags, with some customers taking to social media to decry the grease and leaks that result from the new packaging. 

"Chicken juice spilled all over the trunk of our car," one person said on Reddit. 

"I understand being more environmentally conscious but honestly it was so bad it will make me question whether I really want to get any more of these things and deal with that experience all over again," said another. 

The retailer did not respond to a request for comment. Based in Issaquah, Washington, Costco operates 879 warehouses, including 606 in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. 

Consumer Reports also took note of the complaints, delving into whether there are safety concerns related to bags leaking chicken juice. The good news is that because the Costco chicken is cooked and not raw, the risk from bacteria is far lower, according to the consumer group. 

The bad: Rotisserie chicken juices that leak into a reusable bag or onto a countertop could promote bacterial growth, along with getting yucky and smelling bad as time goes on. Some Costco shoppers offered a more positive spin, noting that bagged poultry fits more easily into the refrigerator.

Costco's new packaging uses 75% less plastic and would save more than 17 million pounds of plastic a year, the company explained in a display sign noting the "classic Costco item in a different container." And since the bagged poultry takes up less space, transporting it will also require 1,000 fewer freight trucks on the road, eliminating more than 4,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, according to the retailer.

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