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Instacart builds on health offering with technology, ad solutions

Instacart - health
Instacart is adding new features to its Instacart Health offering.

Instacart is expanding its efforts to promote healthy eating among consumers.

The grocery technology company, which introduced Instacart Health, an initiative designed to promote access to healthy grocery and produce items, in September 2022, is now taking several new steps in its Instacart Health program. These include rolling out new technologies for health care providers, introducing new advertising capabilities for produce brands and launching several new studies with academic institutions and health systems into the use of food as medicine.

[Read more: Instacart offers health-driven shopping options]

Following is a brief overview of each new Instacart Health offering:

Health care provider solutions

In collaboration with the White House, Instacart is releasing the Instacart Health product suite for health care providers. Through Instacart Health, the company is providing tools to build virtual food pharmacies and deliver nutrition advice to patients.

Boston Children’s Hospital is among the first health systems to leverage Instacart Health products for its patients, establishing new “food as medicine” programs.

Online advertising

Instacart is also introducing a new online advertising capability that enables produce brands, farms and agricultural organizations to advertise weighted items on Instacart. This includes fresh foods that are typically found in the produce aisle, like carrots, grapes, onions, oranges, broccoli, and sweet potatoes.

The company developed algorithms to map these items back to brands and advertising partners. Instacart says it has addressed challenges like limited information from third-party sources and different coding systems across grocers. As a result, random weight items can now be advertised through Instacart Ads’ sponsored product offering.

The new ad capability will be available for all random weight foods, including fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, cheeses, nuts, and deli items. Since 2020, Instacart has partnered with nearly 60 packaged produce advertisers to amplify their products and elevate the category. On average, Instacart says its packaged produce advertisers see a 30% increase in sales.

Packaged produce advertisers can leverage the full Instacart advertising platform including sponsored product, display, shoppable video, promotions, and impulse ads. Instacart is currently working with produce brands and agriculture boards during the pilot stages of random weight advertising, with general availability rolling out over the coming weeks.

Instacart began offering CPG brands targeted access to its customers in October 2021 and launched a self-service search ad platform in 2020

Food as medicine research

Instacart is announcing four new studies with academic institutions and health systems to examine the impact of nutrition security 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, Instacart is partnering with a 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.

The company is also 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 survivors.

In addition, Instacart is launching 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 the company will work 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. 

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