Instacart Health to Give More Americans Access to Healthy Food

Initiative offers tools to help consumers eat better regardless of where they live
Emily Crowe, Progressive Grocer
Healthy food
Instacart's new business initiative is aiming to help more people access and enjoy healthier food options.

In an effort to deliver the ingredients for healthier living, Instacart is rolling out a sweeping business initiative dubbed Instacart Health. Instacart CEO Fidji Simo is sharing details about the program, explaining that “as a company at the center of people’s relationship with what they eat, we have an opportunity – and a responsibility – to do more.”

Instacart Health is poised to bring product innovations, new partnerships, cutting-edge research and policy advocacy to the health space and is focusing on three specific areas where the company believes it can make the most impact, including Nutrition Security, Health Made Easy and Food as Medicine.

[Read more: "Instacart Offers Grocers the Future of Grocery in a Bundle"]

Nutrition Security

With Instacart estimating that six out of seven people experiencing nutrition insecurity in the United States have access to delivery via its platform, the company will aim to increase equitable access to healthy food by making it more affordable for everyone. Instacart pioneered the EBT SNAP (Electronic Benefits Transfer Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) retailer onboarding process over the past two years, and is further committed to working with the USDA to incorporate SNAP and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) into its online platform – with a goal of expanding these benefits to all grocery partners by 2030.

Instacart is also unveiling Fresh Funds, a new product that enables any organization – from non-profits, to employers, to insurance companies or health systems – to give people funds to buy nutritious food from grocery retailers on its platform. Organizations will be able to do this through a special Instacart digital stipend that can be limited to certain food categories. A pilot program of the Fresh Funds initiative will begin in the coming weeks with Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA).

“For far too long, too many people have lacked access to nutritious food because it’s either too far away, too expensive, or both,” said Nancy E. Roman, president and CEO of PHA. “With help from Instacart and their Fresh Funds initiative, we can break down these barriers to ensure everyone – no matter how far away they are from a grocery store – has access to the fruits and vegetables they deserve.”

Additionally, Instacart has entered into a long-term partnership with PHA to help bring 10 million servings of fruits and vegetables to families across the United States over the next three years.

Health Made Easy

Instacart is offering tools to guide and simplify healthy grocery shopping, including shoppable carts from health experts and influencers. The company’s new Health Tags will also allow customers to view up to 23 item-level labels while they shop, such as low-salt or low-sugar products, Keto diet-friendly items or those without gluten. This reliable information about products offered on Instacart will be available across more than 500,000 items in its catalog.

Further, Instacart has revealed a partnership with Hearst Magazines to expand its library of healthy recipes by adding a robust collection of new recipes from the publisher’s lifestyle, health and wellness brands. Found, the largest weight care clinic in the country focused on personalized behavior change and biology, will also make its expert-developed nutrition guidance and recipes shoppable via Instacart.

Finally, consumers will begin to see new Pop-Ups in the Instacart App, which are featured sections on the home feed of the app that offer digital aisles of inspiration.

Food as Medicine

Instacart will work to give healthcare providers and their patients new tools to promote health “because we believe that food can play a major role in preventative care by helping to keep people healthier and reduce health care costs down the road,” wrote Simo. Through its new product called Care Carts, Instacart can give health care providers and caregivers the ability to order groceries on behalf of someone else. Additionally, the company is expanding how it uses existing features like Shoppable Lists that enable nutritionists and dieticians to offer their clients personalized and collaborative nutrition plans.

“These products are designed to help nutrition professionals create immediately actionable and convenient plans for their clients: instead of leaving the appointment with a printout of a recommended diet, patients can get a specific list of items through Instacart, and get that delivered in one tap, all while helping dieticians run their business more efficiently,” Simo wrote.

In addition to these specific goals, Instacart is also creating the Instacart Health Policy Agenda. The company will work directly with policymakers, researchers, nonprofit leaders, private sector partners and other stakeholders to help shape and enact policies at the federal, state and local level that modernize food assistance programs, increase the availability of affordable, nutritious food in underserved urban and rural areas, and provide equitable access to health-tailored groceries and food prescription programs.

San Francisco-based Instacart currently partners with more than 900 national, regional and local retail brands to facilitate online shopping, delivery and pickup services from more than 75,000 stores across 13,000-plus cities in North America on the Instacart Marketplace.

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