- Organic, specialty, and other emerging brands are taking advantage of SamplingLab in Portland, OR, a gathering place that hosts something akin to a corporate focus group for these smaller companies. To enjoy free samples of a variety of foods, all visitors have to do is offer their opinions about the products via online surveys.
- These brands want to test their foods with consumers just as much as larger companies do, and attracting people to a pop-up focus group-type gathering at a cafe or beer garden is one unique way to do that.
- These types of sampling groups seem to be especially popular among millennial consumers.
Product sampling is seeing a revival from food and beverage companies big and small, including major brands like Coca-Cola Co., thanks to modern delivery systems. This includes sampling subscription services like PINCHme, which Kellogg Co. uses to reach customers, and automated sampling dispensers like Freeosk, which can be found in Sam's Club stores. SamplingLab and other similar pop-up style sampling methods seem to appeal particularly to millennials, many of whom enjoy the pop-up atmosphere.
Product sampling is great for organic and niche products that might come with a price point that could turn off some consumers. If those consumers are allowed to try the product first, they may realize how much they like it and treat themselves to it every once in awhile, even if the product is outside their normal budget.
Sampling is also important for larger companies, particularly processed food manufacturers, that are investing in product development and innovation and want to test new products before spending the money to bring them to market en masse. This is especially true as more companies turn to product development to attract consumers they've lost to healthier foods companies.