6 Most Unusual Free Samples Ever Given Out At Costco (2024)

There are people who wake up in the morning with one thought on their mind: Costco free samples. Okay, maybe this is a bit of an exaggeration, but we're not exaggerating the hold that Costco's free samples have on some of its members. For a dedicated Costco fan, free samples are half of the store's appeal. We wouldn't be surprised if visions of cheese cubes speared by toothpicks dance through their heads as they fall asleep at night. The unpredictability of the samples are also part of the store's charm, and it's not uncommon to see some sample trays filled with items that make you take a second look.

Instead of the Kirkland-brand pizza you know and love, you could be greeted by a lumpy protein shake, a strange smelling food you can't identify, or, as in one case, small packs of ibuprofen. We've found some of the strangest foods to ever be sampled at Costco, based on testaments from customers on Reddit and YouTube. In short, you never know what you're going to see when you walk through those warehouse doors.

Read more: 25 Most Popular Snacks In America Ranked Worst To Best

Toast Is A Suspiciously Ordinary Sample

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If Costco samples can be described in one word, it's "diverse." Braised short ribs, three-meat cauliflower crust pizza, coconut shrimp, oatmilk — the list goes on.So the last thing you expect when you walk into your local Costco is to see someone handing out ... toast. Just toast. Like the breakfast parents give to picky kids, or the one you eat when your stomach hurts and you need something nice and plain. "Toast! I know what it is, what it tastes like, [and] could make it at home," one Redditor wrote of the unexpected Costco sample. But, their review was far from negative. "I don't care," they wrote. "[It's] still my favorite."

Serving regular ol' toast alongside funky seafood samples and organic protein shakes seems like a strange business move, but apparently, it's working for Costco — and its customers. Several users on social media have praised Costco's toast samples, including one store that served bread smothered in almond butter. Though, this upgraded slice is clearly more upscale than plain toast with butter. But, if wecame across plain toast samples during our early-morning Costco run, we'd still be thrilled. Free breakfast!

Manuka Honey Is Rare, Expensive, And Memorable

The world is filled with unique types of honey, but none as trendy — or expensive — as Manuka honey. The reason why this honey is so pricey is because of its supposed health benefits. Manuka honey has been used as wound healer for centuries, and has been noted for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects.When the Costco lovers of Reddit claimed to see the valuable honey variety on the warehouse store's shelves, it came as something of a surprise because of the rarity of the product in most stores.Of course, "rare" often translates to "expensive."So the fact that Costco has given out free samples of Manuka honey is nothing short of a flat-out shock. "[I was] surprised [that] one day they were giving out samples of the Manuka honey," one person wrote. "[I] had to try it."

Manuka honey seems to be a rare enough sighting at the sample tables that we're not sure how it was served. It's possible it was scooped into little spoons so customers could eat it plain, or maybe it was added to yogurt or toast. Either way, the expensive type of honey should be enjoyed in moderation, which makes it the ideal Costco sample. It's tasty, unusual, and definitely memorable. There's no denying the fact that generic honey is more affordable, so when free Manuka honey samples pop up in your Costco, you should give them a taste. You may never have another opportunity.

Fresh Pet Dog Food Is Not For Humans

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Let us make one thing very clear: We do not encourage Costco customers to eat dog food themselves. But, Costco seems to understand that the way to a customer's heart is through their dog's stomach. So offering free samples of Fresh Pet dog food was a smart move. One lucky Redditor claimed to have received "a full roll of Fresh Pet dog food" at their local store. "My pup ate like a king for a week," they wrote.

Another customer saw Loaf dog food samples at their local Costco. "We got one [sample] last time we were in and our dogs went NUTS for it," they wrote. Of course, the Fresh Pet dog food Reddit thread was filled with "Costco wants people to eat dog food" jokes. "People will eat anything if it's free," one Redditor commented. Another joked, "Surprisingly delicious!"

If you're lucky, you might also come across cat food samples. "One time they gave out little bags of the Kirkland cat food and that's how we ended up on Kirkland cat food for our cat," one customer wrote. "Just a little sealed bag of a few ounces of food. Cat liked it, so we started buying it."

Compared to the "normal" samples — cheese and crackers, dumplings, cold cuts, and smoothies, for example — the pet food definitely stands out. Its smell alone rises above other sample foods, and not necessarily in a good way.

Powdered Beef Broth Is As Delicious As It Sounds

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Nothing screams "delicious" quite like powdered beef broth, you know? There's something about the hot, murky, brown liquid that makes stomachs rumble and mouths water. We're obviously being sarcastic here, because powdered beef broth definitely pales in comparison to flashier Costco samples, like strawberry shortcake and Bailey's milkshakes. Reddit's Costco fans commented on the unusual sample, and according to them, it's not the appearance of the broth that makes it unappetizing. "I do love a good bone broth, but this tasted a little TOO artificial to me," one Redditor wrote. This particular customer disliked it so much that the sample was enough to convince them not tobuy the product.

"I purchased this before I had a chance to try it as a sample, and ... yikes," one person wrote. "Yikes" is never a great reaction. Adding actual vegetables and proteins to the broth could've made it more palatable as a sample. Beef broth may be a pantry staple, it could be best if you reconsider buying it from the grocery store altogether. Making it yourself takes more time and energy, but you (hopefully) won't end up saying "yikes" after tasting it.

Freeze-Dried Yogurt Balls Are For Toddlers, Not Adults

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Yogurt is the epitome of "normal," but freeze-dried yogurt balls? Aren't those the snacks we give to toddlers? Freeze-dried food doesn't strike us as being particularly delicious, which is why it's an unusual choice for a Costco sample. Plus, a freeze-dried snack would be noticeably artificial when it's next to freshly cooked meats and oven-baked desserts.

A Costco customer took to Reddit to see which products people decided not to buy after trying a sample, and the one Redditor kept their response short and sweet: "Those little yogurt freeze dried ball snacks." The freeze dried yogurt ball-hate wasn't uncommon. "They [stick] to the backside of your teeth," one person wrote. "Soo grosss," another Redditor shared. It sounds like the tiny yogurt balls aren't geared towards adults anyway, so why would Costco offer them up as samples? "I can't stand them but they are 10/10 for early toddler snacks," one person wrote.

If tiny humans with three teeth are the only people who can enjoy a particular snack, then maybe it shouldn't be a Costco sample. A similar product, Amara yogurt smoothie melts, aren't well-liked either. "I was just never a fan of them," one YouTuber said of the smoothie melt samples. Much like this YouTuber, we'd much prefer other sample options, like cheese cubes or mini waffles. Save the yogurt bites for your toddler.

Sip Free Water While You Shop At Costco

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LACostco customers were dumbfounded when what seemed like ordinary cups of water were given out as samples in one store. No, marathon runners weren't taking a shortcut through their neighborhood Costco. At first, it seemed like the warehouse store simply wanted to keep its customers hydrated and refreshed as they bought toilet paper and potato chips in bulk. Wholesome! Except for the fact that there actually is something special about these particular water samples. As Redditors discussed in the r/Costco subreddit, these "ordinary" samples were actually alkaline water. Regular water and alkaline water may look the same, but there's a reason why Costco decided to offer samples of the latter and not the former. Alkaline water boasts higher pH levels than tap water, and some studies show that higher pH levels help prevent cancer and heart disease, though further proof is needed.

The Costco fans of Reddit are also on the fence as to the actual health benefits of alkaline water. "pH water is the BIGGEST waste of money you will ever spend," one Redditor wrote. One user put it simply: "pH water is a scam." Others weren't quite so harsh, with one user going so far as to say that "it's not healthier or anything, but if you have heartburn or your throat is super dry, it feels notably nicer going down." Others simply had jokes. "That's some good dihydrogen monoxide," one person wrote.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.

6 Most Unusual Free Samples Ever Given Out At Costco (2024)
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