Hey you, eat this: the challenges of food sampling campaigns

Hey you, eat this: the challenges of food sampling campaigns

Couple of years back, Decibel took to the road for Doubletree by Hilton, managing their Cookie CAREavan sampling campaign. You know what we found out? Everyone loves free noms, and the stats back us up on that. According to a 2015 study by the Event Marketing Institute, consumers are 78% more likely to purchase a product if they’re given the opportunity to try it out first. But if they have a negative experience, you might lose that customer for good.

Event Production Blog: Event Planning Mobile Media Roadshow

Doubletree by Hilton Cookie CAREavan

Sampling campaigns, whether run indoors in a single location (think supermarket sampling stations) or on the road out of the back of a truck, feature their own unique challenges. Here are some of the crucial considerations when planning :

Sample Consistency

If every sample is a little different from the last, you won’t be able to trust any feedback you might receive from tasters. If your sampling campaign is dispersed across multiple locations and your samples aren’t served in individual packages, you’ll need to write up a strict guide outlining the right way to complete preparation. That guide should detail any necessary recipes, serving sizes, ideal serving temperatures, serving containers and utensils.

Preparation Simplicity

It’s much harder to maintain consistency if the preparation and service team has to jump through a dozen hoops to get those samples on the trays. If you can’t afford a professional chef to accompany your team, keep sample preparation as easy as possible.

Environmental Temperature & Humidity

Taking your food on the road? Passing out sorbet in an Alabama summer? You’ll need refrigeration. If you’re stationary, this is less of a problem, but if you’re going mobile, refrigerator-equipped trucks can increase campaign budgets significantly.

Serving Times

Sample food at an appropriate time of day. An ice-cream sampling campaign shouldn’t launch in the morning, and you shouldn’t be sampling waffles at 8pm.


If you don’t know what worked and what didn’t, your sampling campaign loses effectiveness. Your team should ideally be able to provide post-campaign day-by-day reporting, which should include basic numbers (how many samples given, etc.), average dwell times (how long people hang around stand), and notes of any verbal feedback received.

David Sonntag
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