Instacart doubles down on its ready-made meals offering with new hub and faster delivery

Instacart is introducing a new “Ready Meals” hub to make it easier for users to discover and order ready-made meals from grocery stores on its app. The on-demand grocery delivery platform has offered ready-made meals since January 2020 but says the option was not as visible or prominent in its app, which is why it’s launching the new hub. With the launch of the in-app destination, Instacart is now adding priority delivery to all ready-made meal orders, which means some orders will be delivered from grocery stores in as fast as 30 minutes.

Customers can use the Ready Meals hub to order prepared food from grocery stores like Publix, Giant, Food Lion, Hannaford, Stop & Shop, Martin’s and Kroger. Ready-made meals from ShopRite will also be featured in the hub in the coming weeks. The prepared meals include salads, sandwiches, soups, sushi, rotisserie chicken and more.

“From fresh soups and salads for a quick lunch to take-and-bake casseroles, pasta dishes and meat and seafood entrees for the family dinner, we’re proud to serve as a powerful enablement partner for retailers, creating new ways for them to give busy people and families across the U.S. more ways to shop smart, eat healthy and feed their cravings faster than ever before,” said Daniel Danker, the head of product at Instacart, in a statement.

Today’s announcement follows Instacart’s recent acquisition of FoodStorm, a SaaS order management system (OMS) that powers end-to-end order-ahead and catering experiences for grocery retailers. Instacart says that in addition to expanding FoodStorm’s technology to new partners on the Instacart Marketplace, it also plans to expand the Ready Meals hub to feature more grocers.

The rollout of the Ready Meals hub comes as Instacart launched its Convenience hub in September 2021. The convenience hub allows users to place orders for common convenience items, like snacks and essentials, with a faster delivery time. The company also recently launched a new Dollar hub, which allows users to browse dollar store deals from more than 13,000 dollar stores, including Dollar Tree, 99 Cents Only Store, Five Below and Family Dollar.

Instacart says it has ambitious goals for the future and the new year after it had a record year in 2021. The company saw record daily and weekly order volume during the busiest holiday season in its history. Instacart says orders grew by 30% year-over-year and that its convenience business has more than doubled since June. The company says it plans to continue to unlock new ways for retailers to engage users on its platform in the future.