Instacart introduces Ready Meals Hub as another way to shop smart

(Photo Illustration by Thiago Prudencio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
(Photo Illustration by Thiago Prudencio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) /

Over the past several years, shopping habits have evolved and Instacart has adapted to those changes. With the newly announced Ready Meals Hub, the lure of the drive through is replaced by a restaurant alternative delivered straight to the consumer. Ready to make a new mealtime decision?

Shopping and convenience have adapted to become partners. While years ago, many people carefully planned that weekly grocery shop with carefully structured recipes and second day meals, that concept has been replaced with click, buy and deliver. Although people can debate convenience factor, the online shopping method, included grocery shopping, seems to be here to stay.

As more and more people appreciate the ease of order, the options need to expand. It is more than just that forgotten gallon of milk for tomorrow’s breakfast. Consumers want choices that fit into their lifestyle choices. Making healthy eating a priority can be easier when there are no barriers to entry.

Instacart has found its niche over the past several years. Beyond the ability to complete the grocery list while binge watching that favorite show, the brand has found a way to adapt to what consumers want. From having responsive shoppers who make the shopping a more customized experience to ensuring a quality delivery, it is more than just food delivery convenience. It is a total experience.

How does the Instacart Ready Meals Hub change the platform?

While many people have become accustomed to ordering a delivery from their favorite restaurant, the Instacart Ready Meals Hub looks to be an “alternative to restaurant takeout.” Fulfilled by grocers, the “ready-made meals” looks to fill a gap in “fresh, healthy and cost-effective” space.

According to Daniel Danker, Head of Product of Instacart, this program looks “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.” From soups to take-and-bake items, various grocery stores, like “Publix, GIANT, Food Lion, Hannaford, Stop & Shop, Martin’s, and Kroger,” can fill a need for the hungry consumer.

Both a benefit for the retailer and the consumer, this offering is billed as a way to “break up with takeout.” While that sentiment has merit, it might be more than just another dinner order.

Being able to bundle a meal with other offerings should have a tremendous value. Even though some shoppers might be craving that favorite soup, they might want that crunchy bread to go with it. Add on top of that, a longing for dessert and maybe even some fruit for breakfast. If that dinner purchase can be coupled with more shopping, this Instacart program will be a huge win for everyone.

The key to this program’s success is more than just convenience. The brand needs to prove that an affordable alternative to take out is the answer not just to the craving but also for the wallet. As prices continue to rise, consumers want to maximize their dollars. This option might be a solution that some people are willing to explore.

Add into the mix consumers desire to have both ready to eat options and made from scratch choices, this expansion looks to take the stress out of the home cook’s daily grind. Even though many people have found the joy of cooking, the reality is that sometimes ease of preparation is a gift that keeps on giving. Not every meal needs to be from a recipe in a gourmet cookbook.

As this new program begins, it will be interesting to see how consumers use the Instacart Ready Meals Hub. Whether it is a one-off order on a busy night or a new weekly tradition remains to be seen. No matter the final outcome, one item is clear. Instacart continues to evolve to help make shopping easier for everyone.