Trader Joe's Free Product Samples Are Finally Coming Back—With a 'New Approach'

It’s about time!


Trader Joes

There are some big changes coming to Trader Joe’s! In the latest episode of the Inside Trader Joe's podcast, hosts Matt Sloan, vice president of marketing, and Tara Miller, marketing director at the grocery store chain, revealed that free product samples are slated to make their triumphant comeback after a nearly three-year absence.

As devoted Trader Joe’s shoppers may know, the company suspended its free product samples due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so for many, their reappearance represents a real return to normalcy. “It hasn’t been possible to offer a lot of product samples in our stores over the past few years, but we are bringing it back with a new approach,” Miller noted, though she didn’t specify an exact date for the samples’ return.

So what exactly does this “new approach” entail? Sloan added: “We want to focus a little more on new products—things not necessarily on your shopping list, but things we’re excited to share.” While this doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to ask a Trader Joe’s employee to sample some old favorites like Everything But the Bagel Seasoning and a hunk of Unexpected Cheddar, there will clearly be a focus on new and noteworthy items going forward.

Since this happy announcement was made during TJ’s annual Captains Meeting—a conference attended by Trader Joe’s store managers from around the country—Sloan and Miller were able to talk directly to Trader Joe’s employees and understand what the return of product samples really means. “[I’ve missed] the conversations with customers,” explained Ken, the Captain of a Trader Joe’s outpost in Somerville, Massachusetts. “We have all these new products that we can talk about with our customers, but we want our customers to try them. I just can't wait to go back. It’s gonna be high-fives all around, because we have been waiting for this moment for a long time.”

Jorge, another TJ’s Captain from Massachusetts, even dubbed food a “conversation-starter,” adding: “It is really hard to explain to [shoppers] what Crunchy Jalapeño Dip tastes like, so it's really exciting to have them just actually start a conversation with food.”

And with samples coming back, Trader Joe’s shoppers can definitely expect new products to taste. According to Miller, one such new item is a spin on the popular Chocolate Croissants found in the frozen foods section. This new product, apparently called Chocolate Chocolate Croissants, was just approved for a limited run. Miller noted that each pastry will feature “a chocolate croissant dough filled with chocolate.” Another team member mentioned a sweet dip dubbed Cannoli Dip, which will most likely debut around the holidays.

What’s more? The Trader Joe’s Powers That Be also have plans to open additional stores nationwide, with openings already planned in Oregon and Rhode Island. Happy shopping!

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