Whole Foods Market and on-demand grocery delivery specialist Instacart have confirmed that they have “deepened their partnership and are launching in several new markets in the coming year”.
Instacart started working with Whole Foods Market in September 2014. Instacart uses “shoppers” to pick grocery items off the shelves of local stores, and then contracted drivers deliver the items to the online shoppers.
The newly-expanded partnership means Instacart will be Whole Foods Market’s largest partner for online ordering and delivery.
In an official statement issued yesterday (10 March), Whole Foods Market said that they would be “building on the 17 existing metros where consumers use Instacart’s delivery service to order from Whole Foods Market stores”.
According to Whole Foods Market: “The companies are also looking ahead to create new e-commerce and delivery solutions, as well as increase the number of Whole Foods Market stores with Instacart shoppers for the fastest and most high quality service.”
Whole Foods Market continued: “In addition to serving new cities, the companies will grow the number of Whole Foods Market stores with embedded Instacart shoppers by up to 50 percent nationwide by the end of 2016. This will create a more robust delivery network in new and existing cities.”
The retailer said that the first two markets coming this year are Orange County, California, and Baltimore, adding that the two companies are “also exploring new technology solutions and services that will be piloted in 2016″.
As previously reported, there had been speculation last month that Whole Foods Market was making a financial investment in Instacart in addition to deepening the delivery partnership – but yesterday’s statement made no mention of any investment. It is also unclear exactly how the closer ties to Instacart may affect Whole Foods Market’s relationship with Google Express, which delivers groceries from Whole Foods Market stores in various Californian markets.