Strategy of “Free Tasting” in Japan | Guidable Japan

Strategy of “Free Tasting” in Japan

By Yae Mar 1, 2018

This post is also available in: Spanish


Every person needs food, clothing, and shelter for living worldwide.
People can give up buying other things, but these 3 conditions are unavoidable for all generations combined.

This article will tell you about “Food”, mainly about 3 necessities of life and how Japanese people are making their customers buy food at the supermarkets by using “Tasting strategy”

If you’re a foreigner who already lives in Japan or recently came to Japan as a tourist temporarily, have you ever seen or noticed clerks handing over a small portion of food by a toothpick or with a small plate to the customers at the supermarkets or department stores? Some of you may feel lucky to taste food for free but there are some strategies included for this kind of service in Japan. Let’s find out more about it together!

1. What’s the Strategy for Free Tasting?


There are many supermarkets and department store food corners where store clerks hand over the small portion of food or drinks in Japan.
Fortunately, getting there in time, you can experience food or drinks tasting for free.

However, common people don’t get that there is a certain strategy hidden behind it.

Let’s see what kind of strategies for free food tasting in Japan exist.

1. Feel Like Tasting Better Than Usual (Law of Attraction)

If you carefully think about the time the store clerks are handing over the food or drinks to the customers, it’s around the lunch or dinner time in most of the case such as 11:00 am-13:00 pm or 16:00pm-18:00 pm.
Why do they choose this time? They’re using peoples’ hungry condition which all of us experience equally 3 times a day: morning, lunch and dinner time. People feel that food or drinks taste better when they feel very hungry or thirsty and first bite and sip taste amazing.

If customers taste food or drinks when they’re hungry or thirsty, there will be a psychological need for eating or drinking more after.
So, what comes next? Customers not only taste the food or drinks, but they also buy them to trigger the desire to eat ( drink) satisfying their empty stomach.

2.Feeling Sorry After Tasting but not Buying (Law of Reactivity)

After satisfying their hunger people still feel sorry if they don’t buy anything after tasting food or drinks for free ( human psychology).
This happens because people feel guilty for not paying money for products being sold. It’s like leaving the restaurant without paying.

People normally feel lucky for tasting free but also feel guilty for just eating without paying anything at the same time.
Japanese companies of supermarkets or department stores know about this human psychology, so they use psychological pressure as a strategy to sell as many products as possible.

2.What Kind of Items Can People Enjoy while Free Tasting?

So what kind of products can customers taste for free at the food corners of the supermarkets or department stores in Japan?
There are many kinds of food, drinks, and even alcohol but main products are such as follows:

This is very popular food for men and women of all ages. People can enjoy eating sausage in a various situations from breakfast to dinner time so it’s a great help if people have one in their fridges.

This is something Japanese people call “Rich food” compared to pork or chicken. If they find the one they like and tastes delicious, why not buy it once, even if its a little expensive?

・Wine or sparkling wine
This is for those who come to the store, not by car. But what if you’re wine lover and like the taste? This might be a chance to find a perfect one you’ll like as a table wine on a daily basis.

・Dumpling (Gyoza)
If you can taste dumpling around the dinner time, your dinner menu may suddenly change to dumplings. Nothing is better than freshly cooked food, right?

Many Japanese people love Ramen so as foreigners. There is different soup base such as miso, shio, shoyu or tonkotsu. If you can taste the one you love, you may reach out your hands unconsciously to the ramen 1 or 2 times for yourself.

3.Any Other Places where People Can Enjoy Free Tasting?


Except for the supermarkets or department store food corners, where else is it possible for people to enjoy free tasting?
This is a limited option but if you go to the exhibition of products in Hokkaido, Kyushu, Okinawa, etc. you can buy many kinds of local dishes while also enjoying free tastings simultaneously.

Popular exhibition foods are Ramen, ice cream, sweets, seafood, special dumpling, etc.
The big advantage is that you can taste food and drinks of other prefectures (as being on a short trip) which people normally don’t have access to due to the lack of time and money.


Free food and drinks tasting strategy are not only Japanese companies’ strategy but also, they’re offering customers the chance to eat or get the food/drinks they like.

No one wants to eat something you don’t like, right?
Of course, Japanese companies need to increase sales, but all of it comes from the customers’ satisfaction first.

Why not try going to the supermarkets or department store food corners in Japan around lunch or dinner time and see by yourselves?

Enjoy the “free tasting” in Japan!