Instacart Now Delivers Prepared Meals From Grocery Stores

Customers can get meals delivered from their preferred grocer in 30 minutes or less.

January 18, 2022

Instacart App Screenshots

SAN FRANCISCO—Instacart is now offering prepared meals from grocery stores through its Ready Meals Hub, according to a news release. The service will be available at 4,100 stores in 35 states.

“With Ready Meals, consumers nationwide can now take a break from cooking and instead get fresh, ready-made meals delivered from the store to their door in as fast as 30 minutes,” writes Instacart.

Instacart customers can shop hundreds of meals via the Ready Meals Hub in the Instacart app, which features prepared foods from grocers like Publix, GIANT, Food Lion, Hannaford, Stop & Shop, Martin’s, and Kroger. The hub offers foods such as grab-and-go salads, sandwiches, soups, sushi and rotisserie chicken.

The U.S. chilled and deli food market size was expected to reach more than $40 billion as of October 2021 and is projected to reach more than $108 billion by 2026, according to the release. For retailers, order-ahead items and prepared foods are typically more profitable than traditional groceries like produce and packaged goods, according to Instacart.

Additionally, Instacart says that ready-made foods can play a big part in people’s daily food prep: most meals in North America are prepared at home (73%), but the majority of these meals involve a combination of prepared and from-scratch elements (55%), and most include time-saving “ready-to-eat” items like pre-made salads and ready-to-eat meat as elements (64%). On the Instacart platform, customers who purchase prepared foods and catering items like hot and cold side dishes, cakes and sushi have significantly larger baskets and shop more frequently than those customers who do not.

“With our new Ready Meals Hub, we’re dishing up inspiring, more affordable and nutritious food alternatives to restaurant delivery that make it easier for consumers to break up with takeout this year. We’re also helping retailers drive more sales and increase their ‘share of stomach’ when it comes to their customers’ daily mealtime decisions,” said Daniel Danker, vice president and head of product at Instacart.

The launch of Ready Meals follows Instacart’s recent acquisition of FoodStorm, a SaaS order management system that powers end-to-end order-ahead and catering experiences for grocery retailers. FoodStorm’s SaaS offering covers multi-channel ordering—e-commerce, phone or in-store kiosk—order management and payment and fulfillment. Its technology also integrates easily with a large variety of third-party systems including point of sale systems and offers customer relationship management capabilities that help grocers collect feedback, market their offerings and leverage promotional features.