Costco Samples Are Back, But They're Not The Same

If you've felt the absence of Costco's signature samples during these past six months, there's some tentative good news on the horizon. You may have noticed at the end of May, Costco announced they'd be bringing back food demonstrations (via Delish). Of course, what was once the best part of the Costco food demos, the free samples, have been gone since early March in accordance with coronavirus safety guidelines.

Now, the samples are back... well, in a way. See, instead of the spread of fresh samples we all knew and loved, Costco has started offering prepackaged, dry samples with select product demonstrations. This version, while stretching the definition of "sample," is certainly better than nothing. After all, isn't a full package of food better than a single bite? The downside is, obviously, you won't know whether or not you like the item, in some cases, until you go home and prepare it, as evidenced by this Instagram video.

Everything you need to know about Costco's new samples

According to Bloomberg, the company responsible for Costco's sample stations, Club Demonstration Services, is working with local health departments and other authorities to roll out this new sampling system. The COVID catch? Samples will only be dry, pre-packaged products.

Snatch them up while you can, because there's a chance they'll disappear again. According to Eater, by limiting samples to pre-packaged items, the brands are forced to give away an entire unit, which is not cost efficient since often the packaging costs more than the product itself. Samples spotted so far include full-sized packages of pasta, spinach and cheese ravioli, and jars of marinara sauce, but this isn't even the end of the good news, as individually-packaged snack bars and applesauce have been spotted as well (via Instagram). 

An alternative system is being tested at Costco locations in Australia. This version involves more traditional samples displayed behind plexiglass barriers so that each can be individually handed out by the demonstrator, wearing gloves and a mask in order to discourage crowding (via Club Demonstration Service). Whether or not these new sample systems stick around is anyone's guess, but at the very least they should help at least a few people make some better quarantine snack decisions.