Skip to content

7 Popular Free Food Samples You May Never See Again

Some of your favorite grocery chains might not be able to pass out complimentary goodies post-pandemic.
costco samples

A lot of things have changed since March, including the way we grocery shop. Aside from having to distance ourselves from other customers, we've also had to say goodbye to free food samples temporarily.

In fact, they might become a thing of the past depending on how it takes to create a vaccine. We can all agree that heading into your go-to grocery chain on a Saturday just isn't the same without stabbing a toothpick into a sliver of cheese or picking up a little cup of freshly made chili from the table that sits between the aisles.

With shelter-in-place orders gradually being lifted in cities all across the country, many may find themselves wondering if things will go back to normal. The truth is, we're still going to have to take many precautions as cities begin to reopen, and one thing that's very unlikely to return (at least, at first) are free food samples at large grocery stores.

Here are seven popular grocery chains that formerly passed out the best free food samples.

1

Costco

costco samples
Shutterstock

The place where you can buy everything in bulk—as well as tasty bakery items such as cinnamon rolls—is also known for its infinite amount of sample carts placed around the store. Whether they will be able to resume serving free goodies to patrons after the shelter-in-place order lifts in respective cities is highly unlikely, but that's not to say they won't return one day in the future.

Fun fact, did you know that the people who give out samples at Costco aren't Costco employees? They're actually employed by a third-party company called Club Demonstration Services. According to Business Insider, Costco is now employing CDS workers that formerly distributed samples to help clean and sanitize shelves in the store.

2

Kroger

kroger
Shutterstock

Kroger usually has employees giving out free samples on the weekend, however, they are also known for having little self-serve sample domes filled with cheese cubes or pieces of pastries made fresh from the bakery. It's very likely that those domes will not be in-store for the rest of the year (at least).

3

Whole Foods

whole foods
Shutterstock

Did you ever go to Whole Foods on a Saturday just for the free samples? Maybe you wanted to pop in to try a few shavings of artisan cheese or nibble on a square of creamy dark chocolate? Between the cheese and deli counters as well as the vendors that show up on the weekends to sample their new products, Whole Foods was always generous with its free sample offerings. Hopefully, they can continue to serve samples from the counters in the post-pandemic world.

More on Coronavirus

  • woman with closed eyes suffering from headache

    7 Warning Signs COVID-19 is in Your Brain

    If you experience any of these, get help immediately.
  • Young woman feeling sick and holding her chest in pain at home.

    15 Scary After Effects of Coronavirus Everyone Should Know

  • subway neon open sign

    The 5 Changes You'll See After Subway Reopens

    How the sandwich chain will keep your food safe.
  • Brio tuscan grille restaurant

    6 Restaurants Going Bankrupt Due to COVID-19

    These restaurants couldn't survive the shutdown.
  • Man iPad

    Cooking Food This Way Could Increase Your Coronavirus Risk

    Put the spatula down.
4

Trader Joe's

trader joes
Shutterstock

Trader Joe's has a long list of their own special products—from sweet treats like Joe-Joe's to savory meals such as cauliflower gnocchi—several of which are offered as samples on platters from time to time at Trader Joe's locations all across the country. However, in early March, Trader Joe's jumped ahead of the curb and changed their food sample policy. Instead of pre-plating them as usual, employees began serving samples of food to patrons with a utensil to minimize contact. But just a week after that adjustment, the chain announced that it would be halting all food sampling indefinitely.

RELATED: 5 Genius Ways To Turn Trader Joe's Cauliflower Gnocchi Into Dinner.

5

Publix

publix supermarket
Shutterstock

During normal times, you could expect to sample some of Publix's soft iced cookies or even some of the chain's specialty cakes, but whether you will be able to do the same post-pandemic has yet to be disclosed.

6

Sam's Club

sams club
Shutterstock

Sam's Club is very similar to Costco. Both warehouse stores are membership-only and, more importantly, give out a lot of free samples. Pulled pork, sushi, hot dogs, and popcorn were just some of the samples that were passed out regularly at Sam's Club locations everywhere, however, those days may be behind us forever as a result of the pandemic.

7

Walmart

walmart storefront
Shutterstock

Last but not least is Walmart. The corporate chain doesn't give away free samples as often as Costco or Sam's Club, however, they have been known to host nice in-store events on the weekends which more often than not would involve a lot of free food samples. Hopefully, these celebratory gatherings can resume one day in the future.

RELATED: Precautions You Must Take Before Going to Walmart.

 

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.

She Lost 100 Pounds—And Shows You How!

Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Ilana Muhlstein lost her weight and kept it off—and in You Can Drop It!, she'll show you how to lose it, too. More than 240,000 clients have chosen her program—and now it’s yours to keep.

Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more
Filed Under