Sampling is back at Sam's Clubs nationwide

The samples will be sealed

Food sampling has made its way back to Walmart-owned Sam's Clubs across the nation more than a year after the coronavirus pandemic halted the longstanding tradition. 

Sam's Club – taking a page from Costco's playbook – is re-launching its sampling and demo program, Taste & Tips, this week at all of its nearly 600 locations. 

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Initially, the program will only take place during weekends "and in limited quantities, using new safety measures, such as sealed samples," according to the company. 

The program had been running for more than 35 years before it was temporarily paused in March 2020 "out of concern for the health and safety of members and associates during COVID-19."   

A sign hangs outside a Sam's Club store on January 12, 2018 in Streamwood, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Sam's Club is one of a growing list of retailers loosening restrictions now that an increasing number of Americans are getting the COVID-19 vaccine. 

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"Over the past year, our members’ shopping behaviors have evolved," said Megan Crozier, chief merchandising officer for Sam’s Club. "Today, more than ever, members want to do more than just shop when they come to our clubs — they want to have an experience."  

Over the summer the company plans to launch its first-ever Member’s Mark Summer Eats Food Truck, which will tour the central United States, allowing members to try the company's private brand, Member’s Mark. 

At the same time, the company also plans to test multiple ways to expand its sampling program by bringing samples directly to customers as they check out, visit the member services desk or use the curbside pickup service.

Just last week, Costco had revived its food courts and sampling program, which were also suspended during the height of the pandemic.  

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"The first wave of locations, about 170 of our 550 ish locations in the U.S. will be activated by the first week of June," said Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti during an investor call while noting the remainder should be back by the end of the month.

However, the warehouse retailer is also taking extra precautions and will be preparing all of the samples behind plexiglass and in smaller batches. They will also be distributed to members one at a time, according to Galanti.  

FOX Business' Lucas Manfredi contributed to this report.