Grocery delivery startup Instacart is adding more Canadian stores to its app as it expands despite mounting competition, rising inflation and easing demand.
The San Francisco-based company said Tuesday it had partnered with more than 10 new companies in Canada including Metro Inc., GalleriaSupermarket and Giant Tiger, and local players such as Nature's Emporium and Super Natural Market. (Instacart already counts Costco, Loblaws and Walmart among its partners.)
"At Instacart, we're proud to deepen our presence across Canada and serve as a retail enablement platform for key retailers countrywide, from the largest grocers to small businesses and local favourites," said Chris Rogers, Instacart's VP of retail, in a press release.
"We'll continue to increase our footprint across Canada and create the best online grocery shopping experience possible for both our retail partners and customers," he continued.
Instacart became a major player in the grocery industry during the pandemic. Public health measures intended to curb the spread of COVID-19 accelerated the move to online grocery and powered Instacart's rapid growth.
While the meteoric growth of online grocery orders has slowed as restrictions ease, Instacart CEO Fidji Simo said the market was still ripe for further expansion.
"Online penetration for every other category of retail is about 30%," she said. "Grocery is still at 10% ... the growth potential is staring us in the face."
The company is now offering budget friendly alternatives to same-day delivery, including next-day delivery and pickup options, she said. "It's actually really important for us that grocery delivery isn't seen as a luxury."
The grocery delivery app allows customers to order groceries and other items from retail stores through its app. It then uses independent contractors, which it calls shoppers, to gather and deliver orders. The gig worker model has drawn criticism from labour advocates who have accused the company of inadequate pay rates and poor working conditions.
Instacart also has part-time hourly workers that shop in stores, but don't deliver orders.