Publix: We're still giving out free deli meat samples
Grocery store says it's offering free cheese, too
ORLANDO, Fla. – There was a stampede of concern among Florida supermarket customers Wednesday with a media report indicating Publix Super Markets was nixing free deli meat samples.
According to News 6 partner Florida Today, it appears Deligate was somewhat exaggerated, or at least misunderstood.
Publix said it's trying out a pilot program at more than 200 of its stores in parts of central and southwest Florida in which customers automatically get a sample of fresh-sliced "cheese of the week" when they order at the deli. If they still want to sample a slice of meat for free, that option is available. The meat sample just won't be given out as a matter of routine at the pilot stores.
"We are exposing our customers to new products that they may not have had an opportunity to taste and offering them a sample of that product," said Maria Brous, a spokeswoman for the Lakeland-based Publix. "If they want to taste the products ordering, we'll be glad to let them taste that product in that order, or any other in the deli case they want to taste."
Brous insisted the move wasn't about trimming costs but rather exposing people to more of what the grocer has to offer. The pilot program began in January for an unspecific amount of time.
The traditional process at Publix works like this: Customers go to the deli case and order, for example, a pound of slice ham. The server sliced the ham and shows it to the customer to ensure it's the appropriate thickness. After that, the customer is given the sample slice to eat.
The pilot program does away with that automatic last step and provides a slice of cheese instead.
"There are a lot of interesting products in our deli case and we'd like our customers to be able to try some of those interesting products," Brous said.
And the free cookies in the bakery for kids? They're safe, too.
"Please, don't spread any bad rumors about the cookies," she said.
Publix is the largest employee-owned grocery store in the United States. It has sales of more than $32.4 billion and employs more than 193,000 people at its 1,130-plus locations. It has 23 stores in Brevard and three in Sebastian in Indian River County. With an estimated 3,400 workers, Publix is also a very sizable local employer.
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