Meal kit, food and grocery delivery services are all the rage: from Uber to GrubHub to Blue Apron and every startup in between, food producers are looking for innovative ways to bring their products directly to customers' doorsteps. A number of companies made some headlines the past few days, so this is a round-up of sorts to showcase what is happening in the sector around the nation.
Grocery delivery service Shipt is expanding it's service in Birmingham, AL, to include both Publix and Western Market stores. The move establishes the first regional market where Shipt will offer wares from two grocery chains. According to Shipt Community Manager Anne Adams, the company will continue to explore its options concerning additional regional grocery retailers in other markets. The expansion makes sense, as Birmingham is Shipt's hometown.
Grubhub, the Chicago-based meal ordering and delivery platforms, released an interesting tidbit via a conference call after releasing it's first-quarter earnings report: it plans to acquire Los Angeles-based LABite, a restaurant delivery service, for about $65 million in cash. Chief financial officer Adam DeWitt was the man behind the quote, and the LABite processed nearly $80 million in gross food sales in 2015, according to Grubhub.
Instacart formed a partnership with personalized nutrition service PlateJoy to offer same-day delivery of groceries tailored towards consumers' health and taste preferences. The companies herald the partnership as a way to enjoy the convenience of on-demand, local food delivery while simultaneously benefiting from the customization of a personal nutritionist. The service, launched in 20 metro areas, also allows customers to order groceries seven days a week via Instacart's one-hour delivery service.
Seventeen-year old WeGoShop.com expanded service to the Nashville, TN, area, including the Brentwood, Franklin and Mt. Juliet markets. The service allows customers to place customized orders from local stores up to seven days in advance, with same-day delivery available in some markets. The company doesn't mark up grocery items, but charges a service fee depending on the size of an order. The company also provides restaurant and fast food delivery, pharmacy and prescription delivery, dry cleaning delivery, auto parts delivery, home improvement store delivery and general errand services.
This small flurry of news is just a sample of what these companies are doing; we cover such expansions, partnerships and more fairly regularly in Today in Food. The meal kit/grocery/food delivery industry promises to keep advancing as the new technology is developed, and food producers need to stay in the know. To keep up to date, consider joining the Food Institute with a subscription to Today in Food.