Taste of Instacart
Meet Sarah Mastrorocco, VP & GM of Instacart Health
Sarah Mastrorocco is at the forefront of innovation at Instacart as the VP & GM of Instacart Health— a sweeping new initiative designed to build tools and technology that empower healthier living by expanding access to nutritious food, making healthy choices easier, and scaling food as medicine programs. The company launched Instacart Health six months ago, and it’s been a jam-packed time for Sarah and her team, working towards an ambitious mission to enable and inspire people to live healthier lives.
We sat down with Sarah to talk about her focus areas for Instacart Health, what’s most exciting for her, and advice on how to authentically carve out a career path for impact.
You’ve now been at Instacart for nine years. What brought you here, and what makes you stay?
I joined Instacart when there were just 30 people. I remember finding the job posting online and I applied with a one-sentence cover letter to the effect of “I am a grocery nerd and I think Instacart can revolutionize the space.” Fast forward nine years – Instacart has made a profound impact in the grocery industry and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to help Instacart grow and evolve into what it is today.
I remain at Instacart because I am motivated and inspired by how we serve our customers and because I get to innovate in collaboration with teammates who are passionate, talented, and driven. Over the years I’ve raised my hand and been asked to wear many hats – focusing initially on establishing and expanding our fantastic retail partnerships, then strengthening our catalog, scaling our curbside pickup business, and eventually shifting over to build and lead Instacart Health.
I’ve been open to new opportunities throughout my career and love building from the ground up. I’m thrilled to continue to shape Instacart Health, which I believe is a huge part of Instacart’s future and can play a meaningful role in improving health.
Tell us more about Instacart Health. How will this positively impact food access in the communities where we live and work?
Instacart Health was born from an initiative to expand access to nutritious food. We pioneered the EBT SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) integration and retailer onboarding process with the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), and have since expanded the program to more than 85 retailers across more than 10,000 stores in 49 states and Washington D.C. Our EBT SNAP customers have told us that shopping with Instacart increases their access to food by solving for limited time and lack of transportation as well as reducing anxiety from stigma and budgeting. Our impact and momentum with EBT SNAP is very exciting and reinforced that Instacart could play an even broader role. With our CEO Fidji’s vision and support, we expanded our scope to create Instacart Health.
We’ve already built a great consumer brand and product, now we are purposefully leveraging our reach and selection to increase access, inspire healthy choices and be a strategic partner in the healthcare space. When we say scale and reach we mean it. Instacart can deliver fresh groceries, personal and household goods to over 95% of US and Canadian Households – including 93% of U.S. Food deserts – via more than 80,000 retailer locations. Since we launched six months ago, we’ve introduced new technologies, partnerships and research, but it’s just the beginning. Everything is moving very fast – our strategy is ambitious and I’m excited to be executing on it with our incredible team and fantastic partners.
The health industry’s focus on food as medicine – a concept that’s been around for generations! – is reaching a tipping point, and Instacart has a big role to play in this work. Our food as medicine offerings are all about helping providers prescribe food just as they would medicine to prevent and treat disease, and our goal is to make this scalable through healthcare payers, providers, employers, and nonprofits. We’re partnering with the White House on their National Strategy to End Hunger and Build Healthy Communities, and we’re able to contribute by turbo-charging new tools and programs that utilize food for disease prevention and treatment. Instacart Health provides the infrastructure to scale food as medicine programs in a significant way. I love that Instacart is playing a major role in helping people get and stay healthy.
You’re an executive sponsor for [email protected] ERG at Instacart – tell us a little about your work with this group.
At Instacart, we celebrate unique paths and experiences that have brought people to our table. I’m proud to be the executive sponsor for the [email protected] ERG that was established in 2022. [email protected] mission is to encourage growth and community amongst Instacart’s employees living with all kinds of disabilities. We strive to build an inclusive work environment and product reflecting the communities we serve in two primary ways. We are focused on increasing representation of employees living with disabilities at Instacart, while also supporting the development of those who are already here.
My role is to support others using their voice at work and amplify them – sharing their experiences and ideas so our collective voices can move Instacart forward at all levels and well beyond company walls, extending into our customers’ lives.
You were recognized in Progressive Grocer’s Top Women in Grocery list in 2016 and 2021. What’s one piece of advice you have to offer women looking to build a strong career?
Leading authentically, raising your hand, and advocating for yourself are all very important to me. Doing those three things have helped me throughout my career, and I encourage others, specifically women, to try them. When people ask me for advice I always ask them first what they want out of their career – an ideal path can look very different based on personal goals. Speaking up early to let people know your goals can open up opportunities months and years down the road.
In terms of a ‘secret sauce’ to accelerate your career, it’s always been my advice to leverage your skills, while simultaneously making sure those skills align with the business and your specific role. Marrying your passions and strengths with business impact has helped me accelerate my career development and growth.
We’d love to learn more about you personally. What’s one thing that’s surprising or unique about you?
I’m a shameless eater! What I mean by that is I will eat wherever and whenever at work. We talk about food all day, so I feel it’s fitting to snack while on video calls and also a necessity when in back to back meetings. Many people tend to turn off their camera when eating…not me.
I try to keep my meals and snacks nutritious, but I am far from perfect. My first job ever was testing chocolate and peanut butter in a Hershey’s factory and I still love candy! Since leading Instacart Health I see more than ever how important it is to eat a variety of whole vegetables and fruits. At home with my two small children, we call healthy and nutritious foods “growing foods” and talk about how important they are for your body and mind.
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