Grocery delivery apps like Instacart are reportedly turning a profit thanks to stay-at-home practices
As millions of people shelter at home during the coronavirus pandemic, demand for grocery delivery has exploded, with an estimated one-third of shoppers buying groceries online, according to a survey. Given this surge in demand, it should not be a surprise to learn that grocery delivery apps are benefiting. Instacart, which recently hired 300,000 additional workers and seeks to hire another 250,000 over the next two months, has reportedly seen its first profit this past month, as reported by the Information.
Per the Information, Instacart sold $700 million worth of groceries per week in the first two weeks of April, an increase of 450 percent from December. The company expects to make a net profit of $10 million in April, according to the report.
Instacart declined to comment on the reported numbers, telling Eater that the company “is squarely focused on safely serving its shoppers and customers in the wake of COVID-19.”
There’s no telling how long this kind of momentum will last, but even if demand naturally winds down, some customers will likely adopt the convenience of grocery deliveries permanently, Kris Holt points out in Forbes. That may be enough to make delivery apps like Instacart and Postmates thrive during this pandemic, even as independent restaurants and other parts of the economy are financially devastated, and as delivery workers face increased risk on the job. This period marks the start of “a new evolutionary stage of retail,” Derek Thompson writes for the Atlantic. Expect a great flattening: big companies and chains will survive, while the smaller businesses that define our neighborhoods face an uncertain future.
And in other news…
- The growers, pickers, and packers who make up a major part of the food supply chain are essential workers — migrant farmworkers will still see their applications to work in the U.S. fast-tracked, despite President Trump’s temporary immigration suspension — but are receiving inadequate protection from the coronavirus. [The Atlantic]
- Less than one-third of the world can feed itself from food grown within a 62-mile radius (a.k.a. grown locally), according to a new study. This means that disruptions in global trade could make it harder to feed populations that can’t rely on local crops. [Modern Farmer]
- Penguin Random House is publishing a digital cookbook with recipes from some of the biggest names in cooking and food, from Samin Nosrat to Alison Roman to Christina Tosi. Proceeds from book sales will go to the Restaurant Workers’ COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. [The Takeout]
- The return of community cookbooks, collections of home recipes from regular people. [NYT]
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