Costco free food samples return with new look: report

Dried and packaged items featured at free-food sample kiosks

The free sample kiosks at Costco are reportedly back, but looking a little different.

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The big-box retailer brought back its beloved samples in June after temporarily suspending them due to health and safety concerns amid the coronavirus, however, the free food samples now appear to be packaged instead of made-to-taste for shoppers.

Superfan Instagram account @Costcoguy4u posted a photo of the new samples on Wednesday which show a bowl of pasta from inside a display case surrounded by packed and dry ingredients such as jarred pasta sauce, spaghetti and spinach ravioli. It’s unclear if customers can sample the food or take home the entire product from the looks of the photo.

COSTCO PLANS TO BRING BACK FREE FOOD SAMPLES 

“A little different than what we are used to but we will take it! It looks like they will be giving out prepackaged dry samples and not on all demos... The new normal,” @Costcoguy4u captioned the photo.

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COSTCOSTCO WHOLESALE CORPORATION335.96-2.92-0.86%

The free sample cart also urges customers to socially distance while shopping and features the price information for the products featured in the sample. It also notifies customers of potential food allergy concerns.

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The warehouse retailer temporarily closed stores on April 6 as a result of statewide COVID-19-related closures resulting in thousands of layoffs for its sales associates and warehouse workers.

Shoppers make their way through Costco in Idaho Falls, Idaho during its opening day on Friday, Aug. 14. (John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via AP)

In May, Costco Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti told analysts on an earnings call that free samples would no longer be self-serve to minimize customer exposure to the virus.

Changing up its free-food sampling stations isn't the only pivot the retailer has made. In June, Costco cut its sheet cakes from menus with low demand as a result of smaller gatherings. It still sells its 10-inch round cakes.

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