Do you want some fresh kitchen inspiration? Or to try new products but don’t want to waste your money if it isn’t as great as you thought it would be?
Freebies can be a great way to try new things without busting your budget. And if you are smart you can meal plan around the freebies and lower your overall grocery bill rather than just having the extra calories on top.
My favourite way to get free groceries is to join taste testing programs. Most will require a small survey or review to be completed, however in return you will get to try great new or reinvigorated products for free!
For a long time ‘Home Brand’ products have been tarnished with a view that they are for ‘poor’ people and they aren’t good quality. This is despite the products often being made in the exact same factory as many of the brand names.
Because of this stigma, the supermarkets are now not only selling their base home brand products, but also a self-branded ‘premium’ range.
With new ranges and new products comes free samples!
Woolworths ‘Bunch’ Program
The Woolworths Bunch Program is a taste testing website and community where are offered full sized samples to trial and review.
You will need to have a Woolworth Rewards Card in order to sign up (you should have one of these anyway if you are a woollies shopper because free points!) Once you are accepted as a member* you will be emailed when there is a new sample for you to try. You simply accept the offer and next time you are in store you collect the item, scan your linked everyday rewards card and the cost of the item is deducted from your total.
There are also other activities you can complete on the website such as writing a recipe or sharing meal ideas. They say the more interactive you are in the community the more samples you will be offered. I’m only new so I’m not sure how true this is just yet. I’ve been offered about 1 product per month so far, so perhaps I’ll share a recipe and see if I can hit the talked about top tier that receive a product once per fortnight.
*There was about a 6-8 weeks wait from when I registered to when I was accepted and offered my first sample so be patient.
Similar to the above, a new initiative by Coles has been to offer freebie products to members of their free FlyBuys program. You will need to sign up for a flybuys card and scan each time you shop, then wait and look out for free samples offered on your dashboard or app. The great thing about this one is that there is no review or effort on your part required at all. As such, it is a little less reliable. Some people get more than others, and there isn’t a set timeframe for release. But hey, free groceries for nothing – worth keeping an eye on your emails.
Market Research companies
There are two ways to get free groceries from market research companies.
1. Blind testing
2. Home trial products
My favourite Market Research company by far has been Red Galah. I get the most consistent and most value from working with them.
The first, blind tasting, usually takes a bit more effort, but can ultimately lead to number 2, home trial products (though home trials can also be independent of 1).
When a brand wants to test the market for a new product or range they often ask an independent party to do some market research of their target customers. You will usually need to sign up for the research company as a tester and fill out a survey about your personal habits such as age range, food preferences, dietary requirements, how often you buy certain products etc.
Once signed up you will get calls or emails for any product trial that suits your profile (though be warned that sometimes you won’t end up qualifying even if they call you).
For a blind test you will not know who made the products – though sometimes you can guess. You will need to test a range of samples and give your opinions either on a computer or a paper survey.
Often you will get paid cash or in vouchers that can be used for groceries or a range of other retail outlets. I don’t count this as ‘free’ though because you are getting paid for your time.
So what’s free?
After you have trialled the products the company has no use for them and will often let you take them home, especially if there is a hygiene factor (I got 3 months’ supply of toilet paper this way!)
This also brings me to point 2.
Take home packs
For many of the products I’ve trialled I have also been offered another unrelated pack to take home and review. This is because the market research company works with many brands and uses in house blind trials as an efficient way to run the rest of areas of their business – yay for efficiencies.
Recently I gave my opinion on a range of apple cider (yum!) and was not only paid for my time, but received a goody bag at the end that contained multiple boxes of crackers, soups, deodorant, toothpaste, sauces and much more. A great little bonus!
If you don’t have time to complete the in-person trial to get the freebie bag then there are some taste tests available that are in home only (chocolate is a good one for this). There are less compliance and safety measures on testing snack foods than say alcohol, so often these can be completed at your convenience at home within a certain timeframe.
Other freebies I haven’t yet tried
Aldi Testers Club
The Aldi Testers Club is a one-year program where testers are given a pack of ten free Aldi products to review. Unfortunately, I haven’t been accepted yet into the Aldi Testers Club as it is limited to only 100 members each year and the application process is quite competitive. Keep an eye on their registration page though and if you get in, let us know about it.
A word of warning
Be wary though, you may just start to like a new food that wasn’t in your regular food shop. If it is a more expensive brand or items then what you usually buy then something else may have to move out to keep your budget in balance, or keep it on the list as a sometimes treat.
It could work the other way too though and you find a new family fave that is cheaper, so it is worth the risk in my opinion.
What has been the best grocery freebie you’ve ever received?