The Next Chapter for Instacart Health: Introducing New Technologies, New Partnerships, and New Research
At Instacart, we know health starts in the home, and we believe we can leverage our technology, our platform, and our partnerships to help ensure more families have access to the nutritious food they need to live healthier lives.
That’s why, six months ago, we launched Instacart Health — a sweeping new initiative designed to deliver the ingredients for healthier living. Since then, we have introduced new products and forged new partnerships that are expanding access to nutritious food, making healthy eating easier, and bringing the benefits of food-as-medicine programs to more people. Importantly, this work directly supports several key pillars of the National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health that the White House released last September to rally the public and private sector to address these challenges.
Today, we’re taking several more important steps forward in this work.
New Technologies for Health Care Providers
First, we announced the Instacart Health product suite for providers, which gives hospitals, health systems and providers across the country the digital tools they need to enhance collaborative care, promote healthy choices and deliver nutritious foods to patients and their families.
With our tools – announced in collaboration with the White House – providers can now launch new food as medicine programs at scale for their patients and prescribe food just as easily as they prescribe medication. Fresh Funds enable them to offer a digital, category-specific food stipend to their patients; and Care Carts let providers send food directly to patients. These tools can be combined with additional products like Shoppable Recipes and Lists for Nutrition to educate and inspire patients to make healthier choices.
We’re also excited to share that Boston Children’s is among the first health systems to leverage Instacart Health provider products to serve patients, establishing new food as medicine programs to help them get the nourishment they need to better manage and maintain their health.
In the National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, the White House called on private sector leaders to help “integrate nutrition and health.” With Instacart Health’s product suite for providers, we’re committed to helping advance this important pillar of the national strategy with providers across the country.
Industry-First Ads Capability for Fresh Produce
Today we also unveiled industry-first online advertising capabilities that allow for produce brands to advertise weighted items—from fresh citrus to sweet potatoes—across grocery partners on Instacart. This means, for the first time, produce brands, agricultural boards, and farms have the opportunity to prominently display fresh, weighted produce front and center across retailers’ virtual stores on an online grocery platform. With this launch, millions of consumers will now have more opportunities to discover fresh and nutritious options as they grocery shop on Instacart.
Our produce partners using this new tool among other ad solutions include Bowery Farming, California Giant Berry Farms, Gotham Greens, Grapes from California, Love Beets, Mastronardi Produce, NatureSweet, Sunkist, Tasteful Selections, The California Sweetpotato Council, The Florida Department of Agriculture, and Zespri Kiwifruit. And we’re excited to partner with even more farms and produce brands in the near future to help elevate fruits and vegetables across Instacart.
With this new technology, we’re answering the White House’s call in the national strategy to “empower all consumers to make and have access to healthy choices,” and we look forward to continue partnering with produce brands of all sizes.
Cutting-Edge Food as Medicine Research
Finally, we’re announcing four new studies with leading academic institutions and health systems to examine the impact of nutrition security interventions and food-as-medicine programs on different patient groups — including patients who live in low-income and food-insecure households.
As part of this work, we’re partnering with a leading gastroenterologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai to study the impact of food prescription programs for individuals with gastrointestinal disease who experience food insecurity. And we’re teaming up with researchers at the Stanford Cancer Institute, the Food for Health Equity Lab at Stanford Medicine, and the University of California, San Francisco’s Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center to examine the unique nutritional needs of colorectal cancer (CRC) survivors.
We’re also announcing a study with nutrition experts at the University at Buffalo to test a nutrition intervention program developed for families with young children at risk for obesity, including families living with low income. And we will be working with a professor at the University of Kentucky and the Food as Health Alliance to study the impact of food-as-medicine programs on nutrition security, glycemic control, and blood pressure among pregnant women with diabetes as well as Medicaid recipients with hypertension or diabetes.
This work builds on our existing research — including a study we published last year with our partners at No Kid Hungry and the University of Kentucky — and supports the final pillar of the White House’s national strategy: enhancing nutrition and food security research. We look forward to sharing the results of these studies to help inform future work related to nutrition and health.
Building on Six Months of Innovation and Impact
Today’s announcements mark the beginning of the next chapter in our Instacart Health work, building on the tremendous innovation and impact we’ve delivered over the last six months.
Since launching Instacart Health at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health in September, we have helped hundreds of additional stores across the country accept online EBT SNAP payments — bringing the total to over 85 retail banners spanning more than 10,000 stores across the country.
We introduced new diet-specific Health Tags—helping customers shopping online identify foods that are vegan, low-sugar, low-sodium, and more—and rolled out Carrot Tags, which power in-store electronic shelf labels that can be used to show customers nutritional information or help them identify SNAP-approved items.
We launched a new program with the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) to expand access to nutritious food for families in need using our new Fresh Funds stipends. And we also launched Community Carts, a new technology that lets consumers send food donations directly to food banks. During our initial campaign over the holiday season, Instacart customers donated tens of thousands of grocery items to over 100 food banks across the country. More recently, we launched a second campaign to support food banks in states where emergency SNAP benefits were expiring.
Along the way, we launched a partnership with Feeding America to support homebound individuals during disasters, expanded our library of healthy recipes, announced new food-as-medicine partnerships with ChenMed and The Helper Bees to modernize collaborative care between patients and providers, and much more.
We’re Just Getting Started
This is just the beginning. As Instacart CEO Fidji Simo said when we launched Instacart Health six months ago, this work “is the biggest difference we can make in the world, and we’re excited to help even more people live healthier lives.” With these new technologies and partnerships, we’re committed to driving real and lasting change when it comes to the connection between food and health.
All of us at Instacart are grateful to the White House and leaders in Congress for focusing on nutrition and rallying the nation to end hunger and combat diet-related disease. And we’re grateful to so many in the public and private sector — including all our partners, from retailers to nonprofits, hospitals to insurers, researchers to physicians — who have stepped up to answer that call.
We invite anyone who shares our commitment to addressing these challenges to join us in this mission. Working together, we can ensure everyone has access to the nutritious food they need to live healthy lives.
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