When you have a food business, you know that one of the best ways to get people to buy your product is to taste it. Most food brands, big and small, sample product in retail stores. It does take time and money, but in-store food sampling can also be an effective way to boost sales.

Benefits of in-store food sampling

  • Introduces your product to new customers. Introduces new varieties to existing customers.cheese and crackers food sampling
  • Sets your brand apart by giving it a face and a flavor.
  • Establishes goodwill with smaller retailers.
  • It’s an opportunity to gather customer feedback.
  • Boosts sales 5 to 10 times above normal and result in a 10% to 15% long-term residual increase.
  • People who are given something for free are more likely to buy something.
  • Word-of-mouth marketing. People talk about products more when they get it for free.

Costs of in-store sampling

  • Labor. If you’re not doing the sampling yourself, then you’re paying someone to do it for you. You can either pay an individual $10-$15 or do like the big food brands do and pay an in-store demonstration/marketing company anywhere from $150 to $350 for one in-store demo.
  • Product. How much product you give away depends on the retailer and their clientele.
  • Demo materials. This also depends on the retailer, but quality marketing materials is a must.

Not every grocery or specialty food store deals with in-store sampling the same way

Small, independently-owned retailers often don’t require in-store sampling, but it’s usually appreciated. Whole Foods strongly encourages and sometimes requires in-store sampling.

Usually, someone representing your food brand sets up a table and small display and hands out samples and talk with customers for a few hours. In both cases, the food brand is responsible for providing the product for sampling.

What to bring:

  • Table and tablecloth
  • Sampling supplies, including toothpicks, cups, napkins
  • All cookware needed for the demo including food thermometer, extension cords, cutting boards, knives, grills, burners, pots, pans, spatulas, etc.
  • Signage, brochures, business cards
  • Liability insurance (You hopefully have this already.)

Large grocery chains usually have an in-house sampling department that handles the display, product, and sometimes the staffing.

Have you found in-store sampling to be beneficial for your food business? Tell us about it.

Julie Ciezadlo

About Julie Ciezadlo

Julie is a copywriter and social media manager at The Condiment Marketing Co. She is a Colorado native (a rare thing around here) and studied at the University of Colorado (Anthropology and English) and Cook Street Culinary School (Pastry).