Instacart Inc. is launching a service offering prepared foods from supermarkets in a bid to capture more customers and better compete in the hot market for meal delivery.
Customers will be able to choose from hundreds of ready-to-eat meals, such as rotisserie chicken, sushi and soups, from grocery stores including Kroger, Publix and Ahold Delhaize’s Stop & Shop. Shoppers will also be able to tack on a few grocery items to complement their meals. The service, which promises delivery in 30 minutes, will be available at 4,100 stores in 35 states, the San Francisco-based startup announced Thursday.
“Ready-made meals are not necessarily something people would think to come to Instacart for, and grocery stores have not had an easy time at reaching customers online in this area,” said Daniel Danker, Instacart’s head of product, in an interview.
Competition in grocery delivery has intensified over the past year with DoorDash Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. stepping up efforts to challenge Instacart’s stronghold in the U.S. At the same time, Instacart wants to tap into the still-booming market for restaurant meal delivery. In November, sales for meal delivery services grew 13% from the same period a year earlier, led by DoorDash, which accounted for 57% of sales, according to data from Bloomberg Second Measure.