Instacart announces prepared meals partnership
In the first few months of the pandemic, as consumers turned to delivery options to meet their dietary needs, they had three main options: grocery store, restaurant, or meal kit. While delivery sales remain high even as mobility has increased, major players in each of the categories have sought to capture consumer spending in all three. Now, Instacart is launching into ready meals and meal kits. On Monday, October 4, reheat meal and meal kit company Sunbasket announced that it has become the leading direct-to-consumer (D2C) meal provider in the Instacart marketplace.
Typically, the company’s meal plans are only available by subscription, but on Instacart, consumers can order a single meal.
“Consumers are increasingly looking for convenience, and we see the delivery of prepared meals and groceries as a permanent fixture in the restaurant landscape,” Sunbasket CEO Don Barnett said in a statement. “Sunbasket is delighted to offer more delivery choices of our nutritious and restaurant-quality meals through our partnership with Instacart. “
Instacart’s shift to ready meals puts it in competition with leading food delivery services – DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub, among others – capturing consumers’ needs for ready-to-eat meals on demand. This escalation is only natural, given that food delivery services have moved into the grocery store space. Over the summer, DoorDash announced a nearly 2,000-store partnership with grocery giant Albertsons Companies, and Uber Eats doubled its presence in grocery delivery.
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Research from PYMNTS report The Bring-It-to-Me Economy, created in collaboration with Fiserv’s Carat, reveals that consumers are seeking on-demand meals at unprecedented levels, and are now 31% more likely to eat their orders from restaurant to home than to dinner at the restaurant. Additionally, the customer base for ready-to-eat meal delivery is significantly larger than that for grocery delivery, with nearly half of all consumers ordering restaurant meals for delivery more than they do. did so before March 2020, compared to roughly a quarter who are in charge. shopping for delivery more often.
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What the experts say
With this partnership, Sunbasket is taking a sort of “if you can’t beat them, join them” approach as third-party markets typically compete with D2C meal delivery companies.
“Our closest competitor is… probably your Grubhub, Uber Eats and delivery guys,” Mike Wystrach, CEO and co-founder of the weekly food subscription service Freshly owned by Nestle, told PYMNTS in an interview. “They really focus on convenience and how consumers get food when they’re at home and they don’t want to cook – I think that’s really the use case of our consumers. [too]. “
For Instacart, the partnership allows the delivery service to remain relevant even as consumers turn away from grocery shopping and turn to fast-food options.
“The dynamic of the 1950s, where someone cooked six square meals a week and went out maybe once a week, is going to be totally the opposite,” Marc Choy, president of Ghost Kitchen Brands, told Karen Webster. during a conversation last month. . “This is how people will know how to get their food – by ordering.”
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