Instacart announced today it is expanding its partnership with Publix to include a solution that will let the supermarket chain’s customers get made-to-order meals for delivery and pickup via the Instacart app.
Called Instacart Meals, the service will, in the words of Instacart, act as a “digital deli counter” where customers can choose items like sub sandwiches and other deli fare. Customers access Meals via the Instacart storefront and can add menu items, including “build-your-own” sandwich options, to their regular grocery cart. An Instacart shopper will pick up the deli items just as they would fulfill an order for groceries.
This is Instacart’s first venture into made-to-order meal delivery — an apparently lucrative area for supermarkets these days. “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,” Instacart President Nilam Ganenthiran said in a statement.
That popularity makes sense given the uptick in online order and delivery among the general population. And in many cases, it could be a cheaper option for consumers when it comes to ordering a quick bite. Delivery fees are expensive, and if a customer can simply order lunch on top of the evening’s groceries, they would theoretically wind up paying less in taxes as well as service and delivery fees.
A pilot of the service will roll out in Orlando, Florida over the next few weeks before expanding to other Publix stores around the state. From there, Instacart Meals will make its way into all of the chain’s stores in the Southeastern U.S. “in the coming months.”