Instacart is growing in the direction of meal delivery. On October 7, the company announced it would acquire catering software company FoodStorm, extending its reach into the prepared food aisle of many grocery stores. And at the beginning of the month, meal delivery service Sunbasket joined Instacart’s same-day delivery platform.
The moves come as meal delivery giants DoorDash and Uber move aggressively into the grocery delivery business. Read more on the encroachment here.
A press release announcing the tie-up indicated that FoodStorm’s technology would help restaurants deliver more prepared food. “[F]or customers, this [acquisition] unlocks a healthier, more affordable alternative to restaurant delivery—creating an easier way for people to order prepared foods online directly from their favorite grocers,” Instacart Chief Technology Officer Mark Schaaf said in a statement.
FoodStorm and Instacart share several customers, including Boston-area grocer Roche Bros. and New Jersey-based Kings Food Markets. Instacart will integrate FoodStorm’s technology into its existing platform, making the catering and order-ahead software available to a wider range of grocers.
That technology platform includes online ordering order management and routing, payments, fulfillment and a dedicated CRM. The company’s website shows that, in addition to grocery and catering companies, the technology provider also counts restaurants as customers. FoodStorm provides catering software for more than 250 Nando’s restaurants in Australia.
In addition to providing a window into the meal delivery space, the acquisition will help Instacart integrate more closely with grocery stores by bringing catering onto its platform. That, combined with Instacart’s acquisition of Caper AI, a company that developed a “smart cart,” will likely strengthen Instacart’s hand as it faces increasing competition in the grocery e-commerce space.
Instacart is also making Sunbasket’s “fresh & ready” meals available for delivery on its platform. The meal-kit provider debuted the ready-to-heat meals in August of last year to meet a “growing desire for a quick dinner solution,” said Sunbasket CEO Don Barnett in a press release.
The partnership will extend the reach of Sunbasket’s prepared meal business and add to Instacart’s growing portfolio of meal delivery options. Blake Wallace, a member of Instacart’s new retail partnership’s team, said the company was excited “to bring Sunbasket’s wide range of meal options to the Instacart Marketplace, providing more customers with access to their healthy and delicious meals directly to their doors—no subscription required,” in a press release.
The meals will be sold from Sunbasket’s branded digital storefront on Instacart and will start at $11.99 per serving.
The acquisition and partnership place Instacart squarely in the meal delivery business. But ready-to-heat meals and the prepared food sections of some grocery stores aren’t enough to compete with DoorDash or Uber. Whether that’s the company’s goal, or if Instacart simply wants to help its retail partners sell more deli sandwiches, only time will tell.
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