Uber jumps into the crowded grocery delivery field

Photo (c) petekarici - Getty Images

The rideshare king wants another piece of the consumer shift driven by the pandemic

Chalk up another move for Uber. On the heels of its acquisition of food delivery company Postmates, Uber has announced the rollout of grocery delivery in the U.S. 

The company’s new service will start up later this month in Dallas and Miami and be available both through its main app and its UberEats app. As part of the kickoff in those two cities, Eats Pass and Uber Pass members will receive free grocery delivery on orders over $30. Grocery Dive reported that consumers can expect their orders to be fulfilled within two hours. 

“Over the last six months, it’s become increasingly clear that grocery delivery is not only popular, but often a necessity,” Uber said in a blog post. “We expect to see this trend continue as people across the world look for new ways to save time and stay safe.”

The shift continues

As with most everything else, COVID-19 had a hand in this shift for Uber. With the decline in ridesharing, the company was on the prowl for new consumer spaces it could jump into and profit from.

The company isn’t rolling the new initiative out willy-nilly. Uber tested the concept in some 30 countries and orders increased 176 percent since February, the company said, calling the move “another step towards our vision of bringing you closer to the things you need, all in one place.”

Uber faces some stiff competition in this venture. Walmart is already in the grocery delivery game, and Amazon Fresh has become a consumer favorite during the COVID-19 pandemic, capturing a 15 percent share of home deliveries. There’s also Instacart (which services 350 retailers and 25,000 grocery stores), Blue Apron, HelloFresh, and a host of other wannabes to contend with.

Nonetheless, the company is confident that it can succeed. “The maturity and adoption rate of online grocery has significantly accelerated,” Raj Beri, Uber’s global head of grocery, told Grocery Dive. “There are a lot of customers that are or will be trying grocery delivery for the first time, and it’s important now to engage with the customers as well as the merchants.”

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