Costco Just Officially Brought Back Free Samples

Costco's free samples are back. But they look a little different this time around.

Back in March last year, when the country was trying to find its footing in response to the coronavirus, Costco eliminated their signature samples to help stop the spread of COVID-19. It was a sad day, but best for the health and safety of both the employees and Costco members.

Then in September, Costco brought back their free samples, but only for dry and packaged goods. This meant that the fully cooked versions of items like spaghetti and ravioli were displayed behind a glass case, while packages were available for customers to pick up. Needless to say, we were a little disappointed by this version, which is why we’re happy to report that more than a year later, samples are back—for real!

There’s a Catch

The pandemic isn’t entirely behind us, so Costco is still being super cautious with sampling. While cooked samples now seem to be available, according to Instagram account @CostcoDeals, they’re being distributed in small white to-go bags for customers to carry out instead of eating in the store. Some commenters seemed skeptical that customers will stick to guidelines, and others pointed out that it defeated the purpose of samples, which is to get people to buy the product after trying it out.

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Some shoppers, however, were pleased to see things returning to some normalcy, and hope to see hot samples return soon. One even said, “Mother Nature is healing, Costco samples are returning,” and honestly, we couldn’t agree more. While we’re not surprised that the approach to samples has changed, we’re just happy that they’re not gone forever!

What Else Has Changed at Costco?

Costco reopened its food courts earlier last year, but when asked about a full indoor reopening, Costco’s CFO, Richard Galanti, said, “it’s going to take some time,” as restrictions remain in place in several states. Hot dogs and pizza were the first to return on a takeout basis, with chicken up next, and we hear smoothies, ice cream and churros will be on the menu soon. Noodles dishes, meatballs and breakfast sandwiches are rumored to be back next.

In other news, Costco still requires all members to wear a full-face covering while shopping at the warehouse. These decisions remain in place to keep employees and members safe, which is the most important thing.

If you’re looking for a reason to visit Costco again (aside from the free samples), check out their premade GIANT margaritas. That should start your summer off on the right foot!

Melany Love
Melany has been writing food news for Taste of Home for four years. Her knowledge of current culinary trends comes from her extensive time spent on FoodTok and scouring Instagram for any unusual food, charcuterie design or coffee shop creation. Apart from freelancing, she has worked at bookstores like Barnes & Noble and Half Price Books and as a barista. She has always wanted a career in writing, and got her start at Taste of Home. When she’s not working, Melany is playing the latest video game, curled up with a book or spending time with her cats.