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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.



costco samples

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.




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).


Whole Foods

whole foods

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.


Trader Joe's

trader joes

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.



publix supermarket

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.


Sam's Club

sams club

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.



walmart storefront

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.


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
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