Saturday, November 13, 2021

Publix Disengages Continuity Seeks Disruption


Informed, engaged, focused on consumers, Publix announced that the food retail ‘Status Quo’ is no more according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®. Publix has for years known that 89% of consumers only buy 100 different items a year from their stores.  That’s right the customers may shop one store but they buy the same items over and over again.

When you have stores that are 35,000+ square feet with 60,000+ SKU’s you can make a lot of consumers happy a lot of the time. One thing regular readers of this blog know consumers want fresh food fast and while the pandemic is ending and going back to work in an office is on the up-tick Publix just might have found a way to create retail food disruption, while building new electricity for the brand and relevance for consumers within the retail food sector according to Johnson.

Now Publix is partnering with Instacart to launch the grocer's virtual convenience offering, Publix Quick Picks offering fresh food fast.  This incremental new virtual store format allows customers to shop from Publix's wide assortment of fresh groceries, pantry and household essentials, meals, snacks and more, for delivery in as fast as 30 minutes with Instacart Priority Delivery. The solution is available across Publix's seven-state footprint.

In case you did not know, Publix Quick Picks that launched in September in Tampa as a pilot program, the service expanded across Publix's operating footprint ahead of the holiday season, enabling millions of households across the Southeast to receive rapid delivery from Publix for the first time ever, according to the companies.


Share of Stomach

So, Publix Quick Picks is available to customers on Instacart's Convenience Hub, an Instacart marketplace product feature that streamlines the convenience shopping experience, as well as on

Publix Vice President Omnichannel & Application Development Erik Katenkamp, stated, "Since launching Publix Quick Picks on Instacart, we've seen rapid customer adoption. Our store locations and wide assortment, combined with Instacart Priority Delivery in as fast as 30 minutes, creates a winning solution for our customers," … "Our strong relationship with Instacart continues to unlock capabilities to meet the changing needs of our customers, and we look forward to continuing to grow our portfolio of time-saving services — like Publix Quick Picks — to give customers more ways to get what they need from Publix."

Most of you did know that, Publix and Instacart first partnered in 2016 to launch same-day delivery in as fast as one hour. The companies also offer curbside pickup from nearly all stores, as well as alcohol delivery and pickup in select states including Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Elevating the the partnership this new virtual platform will support EBT SNAP payment integration across all Publix e-commerce properties powered by Instacart add a new level of inclusion for fresh fast food.

What can you get fresh and fast? Well, customers to date have ordered a variety of items from across the virtual aisles, from premade meals including fried chicken tenders, Italian pinwheels and sushi, to convenience essentials like soda, chips, ice cream, candy, beer, wine and hard seltzers, and everything in between.

Chris Rogers, vice president of Retail at Instacart, stated, "Customer demand for convenience and rapid delivery continues to grow, and both speed and selection have become fundamental to grocery ecommerce. We're proud to expand our partnership with Publix to bring the in-store express lane online with Publix Quick Picks, offering customers incredible choice paired with fast delivery to meet all of their last-minute needs through this busy holiday season and beyond," ... "Whether trying to satisfy a craving, needing a forgotten ingredient for a family dinner or looking for a quick lunch option, Publix Quick Picks gives customers access to nearly the entire store so they can get exactly what they want, when they need it."

Are you maintaining the ‘Status Quo’?  Where are your customer buying what? Are you ready to drive new electricity for a company, a brand, or chain food retail?

According to Johnson, “Brand relevance is in part driven with innovation in new food products in combination with new avenues of distribution all of which are the platform for the new electricity.”  That said, what are you waiting for?

Johnson stated “that in my minds-eye the new electricity must be very efficient for the supply and includes such things as fresh foods, developing brands, virtual stores, grocerant positioning, fresh food messaging, autonomous delivery, cashier-less retail, plates, glasses, cash-less payments, digital hand-held marketing, and new avenues of distribution.

All retailers to survive the next generation of retail must embrace the artificial intelligence revolution while simultaneously embracing fresh food that is portable, fresh, with differentiation that is familiar not different. 

Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869

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