Grocery Roundup: On-Demand Economy Comes for Discount Grocery


Digital holdout Grocery Outlet, a California-based grocer for value-seeking consumers with over 400 stores across six states, is finally getting online. The chain announced Thursday (Oct. 21) that it is partnering with Instacart for a pilot test of same-day delivery at 68 of its stores.

“The pandemic has changed the retail experience and how people shop — advancing eCommerce by a decade in just a year and a half,” Grocery Outlet CEO Eric Lindberg said in a statement. “Consumers are telling us that convenience is more important than ever — and we are listening.”

Sure enough, findings from PYMNTS’ report, The Bring-It-to-Me Economy, created in collaboration with Carat from Fiserv, indicate that 46% of consumers are buying more groceries online than before March 2020. Additionally, about one-quarter of consumers are purchasing products from a grocery store that delivers to their home more often than before the pandemic.

More details: Bring-It-to-Me Economy Ascends as Consumers Embrace Home-Centric Lifestyles

However, research from the PYMNTS report, What Consumers Expect From Their Grocery Shopping Experiences, created in collaboration with ACI Worldwide, found that only 11% of consumers report buying groceries online using an aggregator that delivers the products the same day, and only 2% of consumers rated this as their most preferred channel.

“Customers can now have Grocery Outlet’s unparalleled selection of affordable groceries and pantry staples delivered from the store to their door in as fast as an hour,” Instacart president Carolyn Everson, commented. “We’re proud to unlock this new ecommerce solution for Grocery Outlet.”

Instacart Grows its Canadian Reach to 90% of Country

In more Instacart news, the company has been expanding across Canada, and last Thursday (Oct. 14), the company announced that, with its growth further into Quebec, it now offers same-day delivery to 90% of the country.

“With today’s expansion, 90% of Canadian households can now access same-day delivery from the retailers they love via Instacart, an important milestone as more consumers turn to delivery and pickup solutions to meet their everyday shopping needs,” Chris Rogers, vice president of retail at Instacart, said in a statement. “We’re proud to make it possible for more Quebecers to have the groceries and household essentials … delivered often in as fast as an hour from the retailers they know, love and trust.”

Even more so than in the United States, the company is looking to establish itself in Canada as a cross-retail category on-demand delivery service. Partnerships in the country include not only grocers, pharmacies and convenience stores, but also H&M, Sephora Canada and Staples Canada.

See also: On-Demand Delivery Services Race to Meet Consumers’ Cross-Category ‘Bring-It-to-Me’ Expectations

“We remain committed to meeting the evolving needs of our clients and to offering them the flexibility, ease and convenience to shop how they want,” said Deborah Neff, senior vice president of marketing at Sephora Canada. “We’re thrilled that our clients in Quebec will now also have the option to take advantage of Instacart’s unique services.”

Whole Foods Launches Digital-Only Food Box

This year, Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market is turning its annual trends prediction into an eCommerce sales opportunity, selling ten products, each of which represents one of the trend predictions, in a D2C set.

“Last year, we saw tremendous pandemic-related shifts in grocery buying habits as the world adjusted to spending more time at home,” Sonya Gafsi Oblisk, the grocer’s CMO, said in a statement. “As the food industry slowly adjusts to a new normal, we expect to see consumers prioritize food and drink products that deliver additional benefits … and products that support their sense of well-being.”

The limited-time only box is available for purchase through consumers’ Amazon Pay account, encouraging shoppers to adopt Amazon’s food-purchasing options, potentially forming a habit that could help Amazon compete with Walmart in the grocery space.

PYMNTS research shows that Walmart’s share of the grocery category exceeds Amazon’s 10-to-1, with the former holding 18.9% of the sector and the latter only 1.9%. Additionally, for Walmart, food and beverage accounted for 56% of all sales made in the second quarter, while for Amazon, grocery made up just over 5% of sales.

Read more: Amazon’s Food Fight Fails to Minimize Walmart’s 10-to-1 Lead

Coborn’s Enters Michigan with Acquisition of Digital Newcomer Tadych’s

Coborn’s, Inc., the St. Cloud, Minnesota-based supermarket company operating 59 supermarkets across the Midwest, announced this week that it is acquiring Tadych’s Econofoods, a six-store grocery chain with locations in Michigan and Wisconsin.

With this deal, Coborn’s, Inc. enters Michigan, its fifth state. Additionally, the brand joins the company’s other grocery banners, Coborn’s, Cash Wise, Marketplace Foods and Hornbacher’s.

For its part, Tadych’s is new to the online marketplace, with its digital presence currently only consisting of electronic coupons. However, the brand promises that online shopping and digital loyalty are coming soon to its “Fresh Savings Club” membership program.

“We look forward to extending the same operating philosophies in these locations that have made us successful for 100 years — investing and training for our people, supporting our communities and investing in our stores to improve the experience for our guests,” Chris Coborn, chairman, president and CEO of Coborn’s, Inc, said in a statement.

The stores also join Coborn’s, Inc.’s non-grocery brands, including liquor stores and convenience stores.