It's Official: Free Samples At Trader Joe's Are Back

What was first a rumor riding on the wind has now been officially confirmed: Trader Joe's free samples are back.

A post on Twitter dated December 11, 2019 portrays a different world. The tweet reads:,"The free sample at Trader Joe's today was chocolate hummus on a banana chip." The real irony came in with the words followed, "and now TJs is officially canceled." Three months later, SFGATE reported that Trader Joe's, among others on the Supermarket scene, had halted in-store food sampling. Now customers may long for a time when they could complain about the samples offered at their favorite grocery store.

While this sacrifice was a valued contribution in the war against the then rampantly spreading pandemic, it also took a chunk out of certain food brands' revenue, per CNN. A year into the pandemic, food and retail strategist David Orgel told Today, "For obvious reasons, sampling has changed during the pandemic period." While this was certainly true, the change was fortunately temporary at Trader Joe's.

Social media welcomes the return of Trader Joe's in-store samples

Whispers of Trader Joe's returning free samples came to light a month ago and among the first to pick up on it were social media users on Reddit and Instagram. "So apparently starting October 1 (depending on each store) the sampling is coming back! Thoughts, excited?" said the post on the r/traderjoes community. "It's been so long that I forgot samples were ever a thing!" came a reply that seemed to sum up the general air of excitement at these good tidings.

Instagram seemed just as exuberant, "SO EXCITED!" said the caption of the announcement from user @traderjoeslist, but cautioned that it is a "store to store" arrangement. One respondent made a rather astute comment, "I was joking we'd be back to 'normal' life when Trader Joe's started samples again!" Well, as the saying goes: A lot of truth is said in jest.

We would imagine the return of this feature to be a win-win situation that Trader Joe's will benefit from too, as research suggests that sampling does affect consumer purchase behavior (via Journal of Consumer Marketing). Per CNN, samples have returned to some stores while free hot coffee has not, and food demos will only occur in select stores.