Are Trader Joe's Samples Coming Back?

Ask any Trader Joe's fan and they'll likely tell you there's a lot to love about shopping at the quirky grocery retailer. Maybe it's the frozen food aisle, teeming with all kinds of exclusive meals and treats, from Mandarin orange chicken to butternut squash mac and cheese to the ever-popular cauliflower gnocchi. Maybe it's the budget-friendly prices on produce, cheeses, baked goods, and more. Or maybe it's the fresh flowers and other goodies you can stumble upon when you're wandering the aisles.

Regardless of what you like about Trader Joe's, there are rumors that you might have soon have another perk to add to your list: in-store snacking. More than two years since the pandemic began, grocery stores are desperate to bring back free samples to increase sales and customer loyalty. It appears that's also the case at TJ's. Earlier this week, Instagram fan account @traderjoeslist shared a video of a chalkboard detailing the return of samples at a location in Coral Springs, Florida, where sampling is to begin on October 1. Is it true? That has yet to be officially confirmed, but people are already freaking out. 

Samples should be coming back on 'a store by store basis'

Free samples used to be the highlight of many shoppers' trips to Trader Joe's. After all, who wouldn't rather grocery shop while armed with a free cup of coffee and a few chocolate-covered almonds? In an interview with Allrecipes, one TJ's blogger even reported that customers weren't limited to the samples available at kiosks; shoppers could theoretically ask any worker to try one of the hundreds of products on the shelves, and they could open up a package on the spot. Sadly, the sampling station (and all other in-store sample opportunities) were shut down at the beginning of the pandemic, as was the case at many grocery stores across the country.

Fortunately, this recent Instagram post by @traderjoeslist has given shoppers hope that they'll soon be able to take advantage of those freebies again. "Be on the lookout each week for a tantalizing tasting of our amazing products hosted by our incredible crew," the sign reads. Viewers were pumped about the prospect of free samples and coffee once more. "I was joking we'd be back to 'normal' life when Trader Joe's started samples again!" one commenter said, and another announced, "I have never been so happy in my life!" The caption reminds viewers to ask their local TJ's staff about returning samples, as they're coming back on "a store by store basis."