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Pub Sub delivery: Instacart and Publix team up for new meal options

New Instacart Meal program to make Pub Sub orders a breeze, according to the grocery delivery app.
A Publix chicken tender sub sandwich. Pub Subs are now easier to order through Instacart grocery deliveries. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
A Publix chicken tender sub sandwich. Pub Subs are now easier to order through Instacart grocery deliveries. [CHRIS URSO | Times]
Published Jan. 23
Updated Jan. 24

Grocery delivery app Instacart is making it even easier for Floridians to continue their love affair with the “Pub Sub.”

Publix and Instacart announced on Thursday a new program launching across Florida called Instacart Meals that allows shoppers to easily add a deli order to their grocery list. The program was piloted in Orlando and will spread across Florida in the coming weeks, according to Instacart.

“With Instacart, it’s easier than ever for our customers to get prepared subs fast — the way they want — delivered along with their grocery essentials,” Publix spokeswoman Maria Brous said in a statement. “Our expanded collaboration also means that our customers will not have to wait in line for our popular Publix subs.”

Examples of the new interface that allows Instacart shoppers to easily order subs for their pickup and delivery orders. [Instacart]

A new meal interface on the Instacart app allows shoppers to customize their sub and deli orders before adding them to their grocery list. The Instacart shopper won’t be the one relaying that order to Publix, as is the case now. The new system communicates directly with the deli counter so the Instacart shopper can easily pick up the sub at the end of the grocery run.

Instacart says the new system calculates how long a grocery order should take for one of their hired shoppers to complete. That way, a sub is ready in time for the delivery but also not sitting out too long.

Related: Working for apps like Instacart is 'world of uncertainity' for its delivery drivers

The app will also automatically pull any applicable combo options and discounts. (Like when chicken tender subs go on sale.) This also means the sub combo meal price that includes chips and a drink is available through Instacart for the first time ever.

Instacart says following the Publix trial in Florida, it plans to launch Instacart Meals in Publix stores across the country.

Prepared foods make up to 15 percent of grocery store sales, according to Instacart president Nilam Ganenthiran. They also often have the highest margins.

“It’s critical that our grocery partners are able to capture these sales online with delivery and pickup — it’s a boost to their business and a key part of the shopping experience for customers,” Ganenthiran said in a statement.

Instacart also has been steadily growing its pickup options throughout Florida and Tampa Bay. In Florida, Instacart workers prepare grocery pickup orders inside Aldi, Publix and the Fresh Market.

Tampa has been one of the fastest growing markets in the country with nearly 50 total pickup stores, according to Instacart. More than 15 of those new stores were added in just the last few months.

A 2019 survey from of 2,000 shoppers showed that 24 percent of Floridians have used curbside pickup and about 22 percent have used grocery delivery. Those numbers were higher than much of the rest of the country.

Related: Floridians prefer curbside pickup to grocery delivery, survey shows

Walmart also has several stores that do delivery as well as grocery pickup without added fees. Amazon recently opened a new grocery fulfillment center in Hillsborough County and also offers delivery through Whole Foods.


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