Grocery Roundup: Instacart To Go Global

Grocery Roundup: Instacart To Go Global

May 27, 2021 at 08:33PM

Until now, online grocery giant Instacart has been an exclusively North American company, operating only in the United States and Canada. Now, the company is looking to expand abroad. In a news release Tuesday (May 25) announcing the addition of new executives, Instacart introduced Nikila Srinivasan, the company’s new vice president of product, international.

“We’re continuing to invest deeply in the $1.3 trillion North American grocery industry, and today we’re excited to announce our global ambitions,” the release states. “Nikila will lead the development of our long-term global strategy as we explore potential future market expansions.”

While Instacart is the clear go-to for third-party picking in the United States, international expansion could place the company in competition with similar businesses operating abroad. For instance, Italy-based grocery delivery service Everli, formerly known as Supermercato24, recently raised  $100 million in Series C funding to power its own international expansion.

As Everli CEO Federico Sargenti told PYMNTS in a recent interview, “We are becoming more and more international as a company, both in terms of coverage and also in terms of teams and network partners, and we will see lots of big international dealers partnering more with us on multiple functions.”

Instacart, for its part, recently valued at $39 billion, certainly has the funds at its disposal to power its global expansion, but it remains to be seen whether the American company has the international expertise to thrive abroad.

CVS Expands Private Label Grocery Offerings

As the private label space in grocery continues to grow, industry leaders are competing to offer the most comprehensive and most attractive own-brand selection. Now, CVS is expanding its own private label food and beverage line, reports Supermarket News. The pharmacy chain is growing its Gold Emblem and Gold Emblem Abound brands, adding “over 50 new flavor combinations and convenient packaging forms” in addition to nine new coffee varieties.

The pharmacy chain has been making major moves into grocery, expanding its food and beverage selection and looking to replace some of consumers’ weekly trips to the supermarket.

“We’ve been listening to and working with our customers to engage and meet their needs in ways others haven’t,” CVS Health Vice President of Store Brands Brenda Lord said in a statement. “We’ve seen that younger and health-minded consumers are responding positively to our exclusive offerings, noticing the purpose, passion, quality and value across our store brands portfolio.”

Vertical Farming Company Reaches $2.3B Valuation

Bowery Farming, a major vertical farming company based in New York City, announced Tuesday (May 25) that it had raised $300 million in Series C funding in a round led by Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC. This brings the company’s total funding up to $472 million and its valuation up to $2.3 billion. In addition to a number of other investment groups, celebrity investors in the round included NBA point guard Chris Paul, actor Natalie Portman and singer-songwriter Justin Timberlake.

This funding round on the heels of a strong 2020 for Bowery Farming, a year in which the company grew 750 percent, grew its eCommerce sales four-fold, and secured placement in many of the United States’ largest supermarket chains.

“Bowery’s approach to indoor farming represents a meaningful disruption to the traditional produce supply chain, and its systems-based approach to engineering and farm design is unparalleled,” Andy Wheeler, general partner at GV (formerly Google Ventures), one of the round’s key investors, said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing to partner with the Bowery team as they build and scale the largest indoor farming network in the U.S. and bring more sustainable produce to consumers.”

Frito-Lay Says eCommerce Snack Sales Will Double By 2025

Consumers have been purchasing more snack foods since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, stuck at home in a time of great uncertainty. Now, with more than half of all American adults vaccinated, the question remains: how will snacking habits evolve into the post-pandemic future?

In short, it looks like these habits are about to become a lot more digital. Frito-Lay predicts that online snack sales will double by 2025, noting that eCommerce snack sales are currently up about 73 percent year over year. The company did not specify what share of these eCommerce sales will occur through third-party eTailers and what share will be direct-to-consumer (D2C).

The news release also states that salty snacks are the leading driver of snack food sales.

“In snacks, we continue to gain share,” Ramon Laguarta, chairman and chief executive officer of Frito-Lay parent company PepsiCo, said on a recent call with analysts discussing the company’s Q1 2021 earnings. “On the snack side, I would say [we are] very encouraged by the positive share, by the mobility, by the return on the investments we’ve made on rural areas and more capital distribution.”

PepsiCo operates two D2C online snack shop selling Frito-Lay products — PantryShop and Snacks.Com. The company has not shared recent figures about these sites’ performance, though sales soared in the sites’ early months, and PepsiCo’s 2020 Annual Report did mention that, with the launch of these sites, “eCommerce estimated retail sales grew significantly in 2020.”

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