Grocery Roundup: Giant Launches 30-Minute Delivery; Schnucks Loses Sales Opportunities

Giant grocery store

Rapid grocery delivery is quickly becoming mainstream. On Tuesday (Sept. 28), Ahold Delhaize subsidiary The Giant Company, which operates more than 180 grocery stores on the East Coast, announced it is launching Giant Instant Delivery in partnership with Instacart. Through this service, consumers can order groceries, convenience store goods, and household essentials to be delivered in 30 minutes.

“Together with Instacart, we’re simplifying the shopping experience,” said Matt Simon, vice president of brand experience at The Giant Company, in a statement. “Whether it’s realizing the chocolate chips are missing the night before the school bake sale or unexpected dinner guests at the doorstep, through Giant Instant Delivery, we are continuing to find new ways to be there for our customers when they need us the most.”

Instacart launched 30-minute delivery in May, and earlier this month Kroger, the largest pure-play grocer in the United States, announced its own 30-minute Instacart delivery partnership, bearing the name Kroger Delivery Now.

Read more: Kroger, Instacart Launch 30-Minute Convenience Delivery as Consumers Expect Speedy Fulfillment

Research from PYMNTS’ August study, What Consumers Expect From Their Grocery Shopping Experiences, created in collaboration with ACI Worldwide, finds that, for online grocery customers, speed and ease of use are top of mind. Of the over 2,300 U.S. consumers surveyed, 76% reported that they purchase groceries online because it is more convenient than the alternative, and 57% said they do so because the path to purchase is quicker.

See also: Digital Features Can Help Grocers Win Over 43% of Shoppers

Additionally, findings from our report, The Bring-It-To-Me Economy, created in collaboration with Carat from Fiserv, indicate that 57% of consumers order groceries online, with almost a quarter of all consumers saying that they order groceries for delivery more often than they did before the start of the pandemic.

Read more: Bring-It-to-Me Economy Ascends as Consumers Embrace Home-Centric Lifestyles

Beyond Meat Plays Catch-Up to Impossible Foods with Chicken Tender Grocery Launch

On Monday (Sept. 27), Beyond Meat announced that its chicken tenders, which launched in restaurants in July, will be coming to grocery stores in October. The retail product will be available from the get-go at many of the United States’ top grocers, including Walmart, Jewel-Osco, Giant Foods and ShopRite, among others.

“Following the success of our plant-based chicken in restaurants, fans were eager to get their hands on a retail product that’s readily accessible and can be cooked at home anytime,” said Deanna Jurgens, the company’s chief growth officer, said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to be answering consumer demand by launching Beyond Chicken Tenders at prominent retailers nationwide, continuing our momentum in the plant-based poultry category.”

The news comes less than three weeks after competitor Impossible Foods announced that its chicken nuggets were launching at many of the same top grocers, among other grocery giants such as Kroger and Albertsons, in September.

Schnuck Markets Announces Earlier Closing Time in the Face of Labor Shortage

The labor shortage facing the grocers is becoming increasingly visible to consumers, as grocers are unable to keep up with the demands of maintaining business as usual. On Monday, Schnuck Markets, a St. Louis-based chain operating 112 stores across the Midwest, announced that it is now closing most stores an hour earlier, per a St. Louis Post-Dispatch report. Additionally, deli, meat and seafood counters will also have more limited hours.

“This is all about having our teammates in the store when our customers are in the store,” said Ted Schnuck, the chain’s executive vice president of supermarkets.

With these earlier closures, Schnuck Markets loses the ability to meet the needs of the shoppers who can only come to its grocery stores late at night, likely sending these customers running to the competition.

In addition to cutting store hours, the company also announced that it will issue a one-time $600 retention bonus in January to employees who qualify, based on hours and performance, in an effort to keep employees on through the holiday season. As an additional incentive, the company announced that all stores will be closed the day after Christmas to give employees more time to enjoy the holidays with friends and family.

Albertsons Companies Introduces Wine Stewardship Certification for Employees

To stand out in the competitive grocery space, brands are increasingly finding ways to broaden their offerings beyond the traditional definition of the category. From bringing fitness equipment showrooms into the supermarket to introducing in-store jewelry stores, grocers are offering goods and services that meet more of consumers’ daily needs.

Read more: Grocery Roundup: Hy-Vee Debuts Fitness Showrooms

H-E-B Joins Store-in-a-Store Trend With New Jewelry Shop Partnership

To that end, on Thursday (Sept. 30), Albertsons Companies announced a partnership with the Napa Valley Wine Academy (NVWA) to offer employees the chance to earn wine stewardship certifications. The partnership allows the grocer’s “beverage stewards” to earn two different certifications — one from completing an online Wine 101 class on the job, and another for finishing the 201 level.

“Our stores have become a destination for customers seeking wine, beer and spirits,” Albertsons Companies Master of Wine and Group Vice President Wine, Beer and Spirits Curtis Mann said in a statement. “By educating our beverage stewards with an advanced certification program developed by one of the top wine academies in the country, we are providing the tools that our alcoholic beverage professionals need, to help customers as they navigate hundreds of wine brands while shopping our aisles.”