By Kelley Foxx
When it comes to the connection between health and nutrition, the data tells an eye-opening story. Today, more than one in 10 Americans do not have reliable access to nutritious food. In Pennsylvania, more than 1.13 million people—including nearly 350,000 children—are food insecure.
As the leading online grocery technology company in North America, Instacart has not only become a staple in millions of households, we’re already naturally playing a major role in people’s health. We’ve seen firsthand and via independent and partner research studies that online grocery delivery helps people get access to fresh food, adopt healthier eating habits, save time, manage their budgets, and eliminate transportation and mobility barriers to nutrition. As a company at the center of people’s relationship with what they eat, we have an opportunity – and a responsibility – to do more.
That’s why we introduced Instacart Health, a new initiative designed to deliver the ingredients for healthy living. This initiative includes product innovations, new partnerships, cutting-edge research and policy advocacy across three key themes where we believe we can make the most difference. Those are:
- Making Healthier Choices Easier. We’ve rolled out new features across the Instacart platform to make healthy shopping easier. From shoppable healthy lists, collections of products curated by professional health experts to inspire and help people discover new ‘better for you’ products and meal ideas, to Health Tags, which give consumers greater access to nutrition information about products, from low-sodium to gluten-free to Keto and Paleo.
- Nutrition Security. We’re increasing access to nutritious food and improving affordability through new products and partnerships. This includes partnering with Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) to bring 10 million servings of fruits and vegetables to families across the U.S. over the next three years. And expanding access to Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). We have set a goal to expand EBT SNAP to all 50 states in 2023 and to all Instacart grocery partners by 2030, and we’ll add the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program as a payment option to our platform.
- Food as Medicine. We believe that food can play a major role in preventative care by helping to keep people healthier and reduce health care costs down the road. As such, we’re committed to helping organizations scale their food prescription and nutrition incentive programs. Fresh Funds is a new product that enables any organization — from non-profits to employers to insurance companies or health systems — to give people funds to buy nutritious food via Instacart, in order to increase nutrition access and incentivize healthy habits. And we’ve rolled out Care Carts, which give healthcare providers and caregivers the ability to order and send groceries and medical supplies on behalf of someone else.
Finally, we’re committed to reaching outside our organization and partnering to help advocate for real and lasting change through our Instacart Health Policy Agenda, which will guide much of our work to provide food access and nutrition security. With three main goals in mind, we’ll look at to: 1) Modernize food assistance programs to increase equitable access to nutritious food, 2) Increase the availability of affordable, nutritious food in underserved urban and rural areas, and 3) Provide equitable access to health-tailored groceries and food prescription programs.
We’re excited to work with anyone who shares our commitment to ending nutrition insecurity and promoting better health. We look forward to working with you in ways that can benefit all of Pennsylvania.
To find out more visit: https://www.instacart.com/company/health.
Kelley Foxx is Policy and Government Affairs Manager at Instacart.