New poll shows a surprising acceptance of the tactic that was shelved during the pandemic
Whole Foods, meanwhile, is allowing some packaged samples to be given out, though open food demos are not yet back at that Amazon-owned chain.
Samples aren’t the only thing making a comeback. Whole Foods is among the retailers resuming some self-serve areas, such as salad bars. And Starbucks will begin allowing customers to bring in their own reusable cups starting June 22. The coffee chain has a new method that has the barista put a customer’s clean cup into a ceramic mug, limiting the amount of contact on the cup itself.
For retailers and brands, there are compelling reasons to resume sampling. More than two-thirds of respondents say they’re more likely to buy a product after sampling it in a store, with 31% saying they are more likely to do so, and 37% saying they are somewhat more likely to do so.
Also, 86% of respondents said they have purchased an item after sampling. Appetizers or hor d’oeuvres were the most popular item to buy after sampling (51%), followed by cheese (48%) and dessert or baked goods (47%).
Still, there are multiple reasons shoppers might hesitate to try samples in stores, with 40% saying they wouldn’t sample foods because they say it’s unsanitary, and 35% concerned about catching COVID-19 via in-store food samples. Plus, 21% of respondents said samples aren’t offered at the stores where they shop, and 13% plan to do most or all of their shopping online.