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Grocery delivery service sees "surge in demand"

Posted at 12:22 AM, Mar 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-10 01:48:20-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Grocery store shelves across the country are looking empty as concerns of COVID-19 continue.

"They're out of almost everything. It's getting kind of crazy," said Ciandra Kelly, an full-time Instacart shopper in Western New York.

Kelly believes shelves are empty because of coronavirus. A Wegmans spokesperson said the store is seeing a bump in e-commerce business -- like Instacart -- and that demand is expected to grow.

Instacart confirms it is seeing a "surge in demand," but stops short in saying the demand is specifically linked to COVID-19 concerns. Still here in New York, demand has jumped by 20 times over the last week.

“We’re continuing to see a surge in demand across the Instacart platform as consumers increasingly turn to our service to get the fresh groceries and household essentials they need. As part of that growth, consumers are also using the product in new ways to meet their needs — buying and searching for new health and household products, building bigger longer-lasting baskets, and opting into new ways to receive their orders, whether in-person or left at their door. Over the last week, we’ve observed increased consumer adoption for a new “Leave at My Door Delivery” feature. Up until now, the feature had been limited in availability to a subset of customers as part of a beta test intended to create a more convenient option for customers not home at the time of delivery. Based on the increased demand for this new product feature, we’ve made it available to all Instacart customers — bringing even more flexibility and optionality to their grocery delivery experience.”

Hot ticket items -- Instacart said in a statement -- are "powdered milk and canned goods...hand sanitizer and vitamins."

"We’re actively working with local and national authorities to monitor the situation as it unfolds. We’re adhering to recommendations from public health officials to ensure we’re operating safely with minimal disruption to our service, while also taking the appropriate precautionary measures to keep teams, shoppers and customers safe. Over the last week, we’ve seen a surge in customer demand for pantry items such as powdered milk and canned goods, as well as personal care products like hand sanitizer and vitamins. We remain fully operational across North America. Our goal is to continue to work with and serve the entire Instacart community safely, while also ensuring our customers have access to uninterrupted delivery and pickup services for the groceries and household essentials they need.”

Nationwide within the last week, the company rolled out the "Leave at My Door Delivery" feature, which means Instacart shoppers like Kelly take a photo wherever the customer asks for groceries to be left.

Postmates spoke about non-contact delivery options in this blog post.

DoorDash released this statement:

"DoorDash's task force is actively working to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to protect the health and safety of our community in response to the spread of COVID-19, including exploring options with our peer companies to compensate Dashers affected by the novel coronavirus.

We have provided and will continue to share the latest public health guidance to consumers, Dashers, and merchants. To reduce the risk of transmission, we are reminding our community in affected areas of the delivery instruction feature, enabling requests for food to be left at the door along with a photo of where the food should be left through the app—and we are testing enhanced drop-off options for contactless delivery to be rolled out shortly. We are also preparing to distribute much-needed supplies to Dashers in affected areas. We will continue to closely monitor and take action in response to this developing situation."