Midwestern grocer Heinen’s drops Instacart

The grocer, which has stores in Ohio and Illinois, ended its relationship with Instacart this month in favor of its own in-house platform.
The Instacart logo on an iPhone.
  • Midwestern grocer Heinen’s has ended its partnership with Instacart. 
  • The chain, which has stores in Ohio and Illinois, will bring pick-and-pack in-house as part of a new app and web platform. 
  • While Instacart continues to offer delivery from grocery partners, its role is shifting in the industry as it provides more technology solutions. 

Heinen’s Grocery Store in February ended its partnership with Instacart — the latest sign that Instacart’s role in the industry is evolving. 

The Midwestern grocery chain ended its partnership with Instacart on Feb. 22, according to an update to customers posted to its website. The grocer, which operates about two-dozen locations in Ohio and Illinois, said its shoppers could expect the same experience using its new mobile app and upgraded website.

Heinen’s said orders would now be picked and packed in-house by Heinen’s associates. The new service also offers free curbside pickup, and at most stores, alcohol and catering options, according to the note to customers.

Instacart confirmed the ending of the partnership in a statement to Retail Leader: “Today, Instacart partners with more than 1,000 retail banners to facilitate online shopping, delivery and pickup from more than 75,000 stores across North America. We’re proud to support retailers of all sizes, and while Heinen’s Fine Foods has decided to stop offering customers the ability to order via Instacart, we continue to expand and deepen our relationship with beloved local retailers across the Midwest – including ALDI, Meijer and Fresh Thyme, among others – and enable retailers to offer the best possible e-commerce experience to their customers no matter how they chose to shop.”

The move is the latest indication that Instacart’s role in grocery is changing. Grocery delivery soared in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic when consumers looked for no- and limited-contact ways to shop. Grocery delivery remains popular with consumers, but many grocers, like Heinen’s, have started to bring pick-and-pack and even delivery operations in-house. 

Instacart, meanwhile, has continued to work with major chains on delivery while expanding its role as a technology solution provider for grocers. Instacart last year streamlined technologies under its Connected Stores platform. New features included an updated Caper Cart (smart cart), electronic shelf labels and out-of-stock alerts. Then, this month, Instacart debuted another round of new technology solutions for grocers, including further updates to the smart cart, its ad tech, its order management system and its white-label e-commerce platform.

Still, delivery companies remain invested in the grocery space. Instacart competitor DoorDash, largely associated with restaurant delivery, has continued to add more grocery partners. Also this month, it added delivery from Aldi, as Retail Leader reported.