Grocery chain Publix will be the first partner for Instacart's newset service, Instacart Meals, a grocery meals product that powers ordering, delivery and pickup of made-to-order food.
The new Instacart Meals product makes it easy for customers to order specialty counter items alongside their groceries and household essentials, all to be delivered or picked up from the store. Instacart's move into grocery meal delivery is aimed at helping retailers bring more in-store experiences online.
As a first step, Instacart has collaborated with Publix to introduce a new digital deli counter including its Publix subs. The product will roll out to Publix locations across Florida in the coming weeks and to nearly all Publix stores across the Southeast in the months ahead, following the Florida pilot.
As part of the Publix rollout, customers can now build their own sub from endless configurable combinations by choosing from a variety of breads, meats, cheeses, veggies and condiments using a streamlined user interface. With the rollout, Publix's signature sub combo is available online for the first time ever via Instacart. When customers add a made-to-order meal to their cart, the Instacart Meals product automatically offers all applicable combo options and discounts, enabling customers to capitalize on deals and savings just as they would in-store.
"At Publix, we're always looking for ways to ensure our customers have the best experience possible, both in our stores and online,” said Maria Brous, Publix director of communications. “With Instacart, it's easier than ever for our customers to get prepared subs fast — the way they want — delivered along with their grocery essentials. Our expanded collaboration also means that our customers will not have to wait in line for our popular Publix subs. From delivery and pickup in as fast as two hours, to alcohol delivery and now, the deli and subs, we've brought our store online with Instacart and made it even easier for our customers to enjoy the food they love with friends and family — just in time for the big game."
"We're excited to introduce Instacart Meals to customers nationwide. At less than half the price of an average fast-casual food order, made-to-order grocery meals offer busy people and families access to a fresh and more affordable option when life is hectic and dinner is now," said Nilam Ganenthiran, president, Instacart. "Made-to-order food counters are among the fastest growing aisles in the grocery store — these items represent up to 15% of sales for our grocery partners and have among the highest margins of anything sold in-store. It's critical that our grocery partners are able to capture these sales online with delivery and pickup — it's a boost to their business and a key part of the shopping experience for customers."
The new Instacart Meals product includes:
Digital Deli Counter - Just like shopping in-store, customers can design a made-to-order meal using the "Build your Own" functionality within the online storefront.
Counter Integration - Instacart Meals plugs directly into a retail partner's ordering system, allowing store employees to receive orders through an existing and familiar infrastructure and begin preparing right away.
Intuitive Timing - Instacart Meals works hand-in-hand with order management systems to generate precise preparation and counter pickup windows at the end of the Instacart shopper's shopping route.
"Instacart Meals wasn't a simple technical feat — the team built an entirely new set of features right into our existing app and folded minute-to-minute counter collection windows into our already complex fulfillment chain," said Mark Schaaf, chief technology officer, Instacart. "All of these technologies work together, enabling customers to design their perfect made-to-order meal from millions of order combinations, all with the tap of a button."
Instacart partners with more than 350 retailers to offer delivery from more than 25,000 stores across more than 5,500 cities in the U.S. and Canada. Instacart delivery is currently available to more than 85% of households in the U.S. and more than 70% of households in Canada.