Sam's Club previously paused their free samples program for the first time in 35 years when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020

By Glenn Garner
June 02, 2021 03:49 PM
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While the world gets back to some semblance of normalcy as COVID-19 vaccination rates rise, grocery shoppers will be pleased to learn that free samples are making a comeback.

Sam's Club has announced that its sampling and demo program, Taste & Tips, is returning this week to stores nationwide. "Over the past year, our members' shopping behaviors have evolved," Megan Crozier, Chief Merchandising Officer, Sam's Club said in a statement.

The chain has offered free samples for more than 35 years, but they paused in March 2020 over health and safety concerns around COVID-19. The relaunch will bring Taste & Tips back to its nearly 600 locations during the weekends with limited quantities, while enforcing new safety measures, like sealed samples.

"Today, more than ever, members want to do more than just shop when they come to our clubs – they want to have an experience," Crozier continued. "In addition to the return of Taste & Tips, we've planned new, immersive sampling experiences that add even more excitement to our clubs."

In addition to roaming events that bring samples to customers at the checkout line and curbside pickup, Sam's Club is also rolling out the Member's Mark Summer Eats Food Truck. The experience will tour the United States, serving up samples of the store's private brand Member's Mark in parking lots across the country.

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The news comes after Costco announced they're bringing back their free samples program in June, as well as allowing food court seating at half capacity.

"Increased safety protocols are and will be in place, including all samples prepared behind plexiglass, prepared in smaller batches for better safety control and distribute it to members one at a time," Costco's chief financial officer and executive vice president Richard Galanti said during a call with investors.

The store also joined Sam's Club, Walmart, Starbucks and Publix in ending their mask requirements for vaccinated shoppers.