Grocery Delivery Digest

April 29, 2020

Ian Cook, Managing Editor

Welcome to the inaugural issue of The Delivery Digest!  We have combed thousands of newsletters, websites, magazine, podcasts, etc. to bring to you the most pertinent news related to the business of grocery and restaurant delivery.  With the industry growing and changing so quickly, we thought it would be helpful to the industry to bring all this news into one digest.  We hope you find this newsletter valuable.  It is free to subscribe, so please feel free to share the link and the newsletter with your colleagues and contacts in the delivery business.  Grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and read through all the news that you need!  Enjoy the rest of your week!

Issue #1

US Foods Wraps Up Acquisition of Smart Foodservice Warehouse

US Foods Holding Corp. has closed its $970 million acquisition of Smart Foodservice Warehouse Stores from the private equity owner of Smart & Final Stores.


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Ocado Opens First Sobeys Warehouse as Online Grocery Demand Soars

Ocado has opened its first automated warehouse in North America as the online grocer-cum-technology provider presses ahead with progress on its overseas partnerships.


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Why Isn’t Trader Joe’s Offering Curbside Pick-Up or Delivery Like Other Grocery Stores?

Grocery delivery and curbside pickup have been a lifesaver for a lot of people these days — whether you need to stock up on fresh produce and snacks or quality meat. But one of our favorite grocery stores has notably opted out of offering these services that so many customers seem to be wanting right now.


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How to Implement Store Picking and Curbside Pickup During COVID-19

As the country continues to battle COVID-19, many businesses are having to adapt at breakneck speeds or remain closed. In some states, they have been forced to close as being nonessential, and others are operating on skeleton crews.


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Dark Stores Addressing Massive COVID-19 E-Grocery Demand

A handful of grocery retailers have flipped some locations into so-called dark stores to handle the crush of online orders, but it remains to be seen how widespread the practice will become or how much the trend will stick after the coronavirus threat dies down.


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How Grocers Are Handling Coronavirus and Exploding Store/Online Demand

While most of retail is in the doldrums, with even ecommerce operations shutting down due to coronavirus concerns, grocery chains are seeing explosive growth, and e-grocery has been accelerating rapidly due to fears of close human contact. Many grocery retailers had already been focusing on ecommerce growth, investing in the front and back end, but no one envisioned a crush of panicked buyers and hoarders.


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Aldi Offers Grocery Delivery Nationwide, and We’ve Already Put in Our Order

Everything you love at Aldi can be delivered to your door, thanks to an expanded partnership with Instacart.


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H-E-B and Favor Launch New Grocery Delivery Service That Provides Items in 2 Hours or Less

Grocery franchise H-E-B and Favor Delivery have partnered to introduce a new service that allows customers to have grocery essentials delivered straight to their doorstep in two hours or less.


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Costco Deals New Rules to Its Shoppers. Here’s What You Need to Know.

Beginning next week, you won’t see many mouths or noses at Costco. The bulk grocery chain has announced a change to its policy in the age of coronavirus: As of May 4, all shoppers over the age of 2 must wear face coverings. The only exceptions are for those who can’t wear a mask due to a medical condition.


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Cheetah Raises $36M Series B From Eclipse Ventures to Expand Wholesale Grocery Delivery Service to Individuals and Families

Despite an expanding national shutdown, one San Francisco-based female-led startup has proven its ability to persevere. Cheetah, an e-commerce platform offering contactless pickup and delivery of food and supplies, announced today it successfully closed $36 million in Series B funding led by Eclipse Ventures, with participation from ICONIQ Capital, Hanaco Ventures, and Floodgate Fund.


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MealPal Pivots Business to Offer Grocery Essentials

Lunch and dinner subscription company MealPal started out as a service through which consumers could pick up meals from local restaurants during the work week—but, like many in the food industry, it has adjusted its operations for quarantined customers.


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HarvestSelect Produce Boxes Now to be Shipped to Retail Partners

Tanimura & Antle will begin shipping HarvestSelect boxes with an assortment of field-packed fresh produce to retail partners as part of grocery pickup and delivery programs.


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Panera Bread Becomes a Grocery Store of Sorts

Panera Bread restaurant chain, like many others in the world, has been shut down for everything other than takeout or delivery during to the coronavirus pandemic. About half of the company’s business has been lost due to dining rooms shutting down.


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Top Box Foods Announces Home Delivery for Families in Need

A local partnership between Top Box Foods and United Way is bringing affordable food right to your door. The organization announced it’s offering a home delivery service.


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Instacart Now Has 500,000 Shoppers, Adding Another 250,000 to Meet Demand

Instacart appears to be right smack in the middle of a Venn diagram of the humongous demand for online grocery delivery and decimated job market where people need work.


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Report: Coronavirus Grocery Delivery Demand Has Made Instacart Profitable For The First Time

Demand for grocery delivery has exploded in recent weeks as millions try to avoid going outside amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Instacart is one of the major beneficiaries of this boom. It’s hiring hundreds of thousands more contractors to help it fulfill orders, and the surge in demand has reportedly made the company profitable for the first time.


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Instacart Has a Problem with Third-Party Apps Letting Shoppers Pay for Early Access to Orders

Kara Carmichael has been an Instacart shopper for years in Orlando, Fla. It’s how she’s been able to support her family, she told TechCrunch. But she says she has noticed an increase in third-party bot activity that has made shopping “nearly impossible.”


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Instacart Hired 300,000 New Workers in One Month. Now It's Bringing on 250,000 More as it Grapples With a Surge in Demand.

Instacart is on a hiring spree. The company announced Thursday that it would be hiring 250,000 new workers to help it meet the surge in demand for online delivery options during the coronavirus pandemic; it had already hired 300,000 new people in the past month.


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New App Coalition Will Lobby on Small Business Loans

McGuireWoods Consulting has started a new coalition to advocate on behalf of app companies, including on issues related to coronavirus. The App Coalition will be led by Gregory Guice, a lobbyist at the firm.


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Grubhub and Other Delivery Services See Their Fees Capped in Major Cities

As restaurants take a serious sales hit from the COVID-19 pandemic, big cities across the U.S. are adopting ordinances capping the delivery fees services such as Grubhub, DoorDash, Postmates, and Uber Eats can charge.


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DoorDash is the Fastest Growing Meal Delivery Business During Coronavirus Lockdown

While restaurants have been hit hard during the coronavirus pandemic, the meal-delivery start-up DoorDash has used the crisis to grow.


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Portillo's Has Doubled Down on Drive-Thru and Delivery, and It's Working

It’s not often that the CEO of a fast-casual brand is excited about a 20 percent drop in revenue, but these are no ordinary times. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Michael Osanloo is elated to see the way Portillo’s Hot Dogs has performed.


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Report: Uber Mulls Laying Off 20% of Its Staff as CTO Resigns

Executives at Uber are discussing plans to cut about 20% of the company’s employees, according to a report by The Information. The ride sharing company has taken a hit from fewer customers requesting rides, as social distancing guidelines were enacted during the coronavirus pandemic.


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Wow Bao Ventures Into New Business Model Partnering With Restaurants Around The Country

Wow Bao, the fast-casual Asian concept offering signature buns, bowls, potstickers and more, has launched a pioneering business model to increase restaurant partner's revenue while expanding the company's footprint throughout the U.S.


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Apocalypse Chow? How Innovation is Providing Hope for the Restaurant Industry

There are few industries that have been devastated by Covid-19 as much as the restaurant industry and it very well may be a harbinger for sweeping changes across many other industries.


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Denny's Pivots to Offer Meal Kits and Grocery Delivery

Denny's says participating locations throughout the U.S. will now be offering make-at-home meal kits that include all the ingredients for a family meal with simple assembly instructions.


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Loblaws Using New Automated Facility in Toronto to Pack and Fill Online Orders Faster

As residents of Toronto continue to stay home and self-isolate amid the global pandemic, the demand for grocery pickup and delivery services remains higher than ever before.


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Real-Estate Firms Expect Coronavirus-Driven Shifts Will Spur Warehouse Demand

Industrial real-estate operators expect the disruption of consumer supply chains caused by the coronavirus pandemic to drive a new surge in warehousing demand. Warehouse developers now helping some retail and logistics customers secure additional storage space as lockdowns trigger an upheaval in consumer buying patterns believe the rapid adjustments will give way to longer-term changes in how companies manage their supply chains.


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“Wave of Demand” for Warehousing to Address Online Sales Boom

JLL is expecting a “wave of demand” for warehousing as grocers increase online shopping capacity. According to the ONS online sales as a proportion of all retailing reached a record high of 22.3% in March 2020 as consumers switched to online purchasing during the pandemic.


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USDA to Buy $100M Per Month in Fresh Produce

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said it would purchase $100 million in produce each month for the next six months from regional and local distributors whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of restaurants, hotels and other foodservice entities through its newly launched Buy Fresh program.


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Grocery Upstarts Race to Exploit Food Delivery Overload

Housebound Americans looking to avoid supermarket anxiety have been bombarding FreshDirect, Kroger, Amazon and others for more than a month now. Incessant clicking in the hope of scoring a slot—followed by sudden cancellations or half-filled orders—are the new normal.


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As America Stays Home, Deliveries Have Struggled to Keep Up. Here’s How the Distribution Network Could Change

Closed restaurants and shops, hoarding of household staples and a surge in online orders have exposed holes in America’s delivery network amid the coronavirus pandemic. Now, while consumers search for products such as face masks, hand soap, toilet paper and groceries, companies are evaluating major changes to where their products are made and how those goods are delivered.


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The New Normal of Obtaining Fresh Produce

We’re all doing our best to adjust to the “new normal” of how Covid-19 is affecting our home life and local economy. We’re adjusting to a new routine of social distancing, home schooling, letting our hair go rogue, working from home, or filing for unemployment. And many of us also have a new perspective about our food supply and our gardens.


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Community Supported Agriculture Gains Ground as Local Products Secure Food Supply

Every year, farmer Graham Sparrow welcomes spring. But this year, he’s plain crazy about it. That’s because his certified organic farm, Sparrow’s Nest , is part of a business model that stands to benefit from COVID-19.


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Western Growers CEO Says Pandemic, Restaurant Shutdowns 'Threw a Grenade' Into Food Supply Chain

Western Growers Association CEO Dave Puglia told “America’s Newsroom” Tuesday that the coronavirus pandemic has been a “difficult” challenge for farmers due to the shutdown of restaurants and other parts of the food sector that rely on produce.


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Red Flag: Instacart Workers Take Action

On March 30, tens of thousands of workers at Instacart shut off their apps and refused to accept grocery orders. Amid the COVID-19 crisis, grocery shoppers and delivery drivers have been deemed “essential workers,” and joined Amazon warehouse workers in Chicago and New York, factory workers at GM, and elsewhere in a series of workplace actions sweeping the country.


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An Unprecedented Coalition of Amazon, Walmart, FedEx, Target, Instacart, and Whole Foods Workers Are Planning to Strike Over Pandemic Working Conditions

An unprecedented coalition of employees and gig workers in at least half a dozen states plan to call in sick or walk off their jobs during their lunch break on Friday, International Workers' Day, according to The Intercept.


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FMI: Supermarkets Facing a Demand Issue, Not a Supply Issue

There is no disruption in the grocery supply chain, according to FMI-The Food Industry Association, and what retailers, manufacturers and consumers have been experiencing during the growing coronavirus pandemic has been the result of unprecedented demand for product.


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Virus Outbreak Alters Food-Delivery Market as People Seek Essential Work and Consumers Strive to Support Local Restaurants

At 1:35 p.m. Wednesday, Melissa and John Simon were sitting in their parked car in Liberty Lake. The car has the name of their dog cleanup business – Dooky’s Poop Scoop Service – emblazoned on the side. But they weren’t there for dooky.


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Navigating the New Normal

Right now we’re living in a state of exception, filled with unfamiliarity, uncertainty and anxiety. Our everyday lives have changed - including mine. From making sure we and our families stay healthy and safe, to coming to terms with new ways of working in a new environment. I think it’s safe to say that we are all dealing with individual issues.


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GAME CHANGERS - Restaurant Sector After COVID – 19

Businesses have seen such a drastic setback for the first time in their entire life and it seems restaurant sector has suffered the most. Many restaurants will not exist after the lock-down and many have as yet sustained the terrible period of lock-down. But are those who have sustained ready for what lies ahead?


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First Insight: As Stores Reopen, Consumers Feel Least Safe Shopping in Malls, Safest Shopping in Grocery and Drug Stores

As states nationwide consider how best to reopen stores while also protecting against further Coronavirus spread, a recent study by First Insight unveils consumer sentiment around feelings of safety when visiting several store formats.


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Restaurant Vendors are Now Selling to the Public. Here’s Why it Might Hurt Them Instead of Help.

Two weeks ago, a delivery driver in a white sprinter van arrived at my house with two cardboard boxes packed with ice. Inside was an oceanic treasure trove: 10 pounds of Scottish salmon, a five-pound filet of yellowtail from Japan, a two-pound chunk of ruby-red Bigeye tuna from Hawaii, frozen jumbo shrimp and a jar of pearlescent orange trout roe.


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Quarantine Cravings: Grubhub Reports Most Popular Delivery Orders in America

Sure, you could spend your free time in self-isolation perfecting that homemade bread recipe — or you could just order delivery. Grubhub has revealed the most popular takeout meals that customers are having delivered accross America, mapping out the most-ordered dishes by region.


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Don’t Upend Your Hiring Process Now, Say Managers at Snap, Reddit and Instacart

Often, finding and hiring engineering talent is an ordeal. There are more open programming positions than qualified candidates, putting companies in a tough spot when it comes to negotiating.


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Instacart Sends Cease-and-Desist to Website That Automatically Placed Orders

The developer of a website that claimed to automatically hunt for free delivery slots on Instacart and complete a user's order for them shut down the site Thursday after getting a cease-and-desist order from Instacart.


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The Future is Now for Online Grocery Due to COVID-19

The grocery industry may be booming right now, but it’s also an overwhelming environment due to the dramatic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of which remain to be seen. An increase in sales comes at the expense of scrambling to manage inventory, ensure sufficient staffing, follow health and safety protocols, and accommodate a surge in online grocery ordering.


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How Instacart Uses Data Science to Tackle Complex Business Problems

The company that half of American households use to get groceries from their favorite grocery stores like Costco, Wegman’s, Whole Foods, Petco, and more without even leaving the house.


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Mastercard Study Shows Consumers Globally Make the Move to Contactless Payments for Everyday Purchases, Seeking Touch-Free Payment Experiences

During February and March, as many countries imposed necessary restrictions on social distancing, a significant majority of consumers turned to contactless card payments for necessary purchases. 79 percent of respondents worldwide say they are now using contactless payments, citing safety and cleanliness as key drivers.


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Irish Grocery Delivery Start-Up Raises €2m, Agrees Lidl Deal

Buymie, an Irish grocery delivery start-up, has raised €2.2m in funding and signed a multi-year partnership agreement with Lidl Ireland. The company, which was set up three years ago, connects customers with hundreds of independent personal shoppers who can pick and deliver goods directly from shops.


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UK Grocery Sales Growth Slows in April

The past 12 weeks have continued to see strong grocery sales growth of 9.1%, according to Kantar, but sales growth slowed down in the past four weeks as households making a record low number of visits to supermarkets.


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Amazon Prepping to Launch Super-Fast Grocery Delivery Service in UK: the Grocer

E-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc is preparing to launch an ultra-fast grocery delivery service in the UK, trade magazine the Grocer reported on Friday, citing suppliers. The service, Ultra Fast Fresh, involves retrofitting nine existing depots within the country to handle fresh produce and fulfill grocery orders within hours, the magazine reported.


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UK’s Deliveroo has Confirmed It’s Axing Around 15% of Its Global Headcount

Is it feast or famine for food delivery startups during the coronavirus pandemic? The UK’s Deliveroo has confirmed it’s axing more than 350 staff — or around 15% of its global headcount. Late yesterday the Telegraph reported that the London-based startup will be cutting 367 staff and furloughing a further 50 out of a total headcount of more than 2,500.


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UK Supermarkets to Add 300,000 More Delivery Slots But May Not be Able to Meet Demand

British supermarkets are to increase the number of delivery slots in a bid to try and keep up with demand during lockdown. The retailers had 2.1million delivery slots at the start of the coronavirus pandemic and the number is now set to rise to almost three million due to high demand from people isolating at home.


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In a UK First, Tesco Serves More Than One Million Online Grocery Orders in a Week

Tesco is now the first retailer in the UK to fulfil one million online grocery orders in a week. Following a huge effort to increase online delivery capacity, we delivered our millionth weekly order to our customer Lesley Bush. Thank you to Lesley and all our drivers and pickers who make it possible.


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Flipkart Partners with Meru for Essentials and Grocery Delivery in India

Homegrown e-commerce marketplace Flipkart has partnered with Meru for delivering grocery and essential items during the lockdown due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus. Meru is India's app-based ride-hailing cab operator in which Mahindra & Mahindra holds a majority stake.


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Paytm Mall Gears Up for Competition From JioMart and Amazon – Set to Onboard 10,000 Kirana Stores for Hyperlocal Grocery Delivery in India

Indian e-commerce platform Paytm Mall is doubling down on its merchant reach. The subsidiary of Paytm parent company One97 Communications, Paytm Mall now plans to bring an additional 10,000 kirana stores, small shops, and businesses onboard, for hyperlocal deliveries.


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How China’s Delivery Services Platforms are Evolving, From Smart Lockers to ‘Semi-Finished’ Meals

Stuck at home, can’t go to the store to buy food, too tired to cook – “Let’s get a food delivery!” That has been an increasingly common refrain for millions of people around the world confined to their homes amid the coronavirus crisis, with lockdowns and social distancing measures forcing more into online consumption.


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UPS Will Start Delivering CVS Prescriptions by Drone in Florida — Here's How it Works

UPS and CVS announced on Monday drone-delivered prescriptions will start in early May. At first, the deliveries will go to The Villages, the largest retirement community in the US. The 135,000 residents of the Florida community will be able to have prescription medications delivered to their homes.


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PODCAST: “Hey Instacart, change your whole business model!"

Loud podcast, with interesting Instacart commentary in the last 10 minutes.


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American Idols: New Action Figures, Toys Immortalize Heroes of the Coronavirus Pandemic (Including Grocery Workers and Delivery Drivers!)

Health care workers and other essential personnel on the front lines during the coronavirus pandemic are considered heroes. Now Mattel is making it official with a new line of action figures and toys.


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Uber Creates Platform for Out of Work Drivers

In order to help drivers who are struggling to make a living as the world shuts down due to COVID-19, Uber has set up Work Hub to help them find other jobs on the company's platform.


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