Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods has been a major thorn in the side of many companies. But it’s been nothing short of a blessing for grocery delivery company Instacart, according to its CEO. Apoorva Mehta told Cheddar the deal was a “massive turning point.” “Whether grocers had an e-commerce strategy before or not, now they needed one,” he said in an interview. “Regardless of whether you’re a small mom-and-pop grocer or a national chain, you needed to be able to deliver to your customers within one hour or same day.” Instacart signed a deal with yet another grocer this week, this time with major supermarket chain Albertsons. It expects to provide one-hour delivery to customers of 1,800 existing stores across the U.S. by mid 2018. The company’s roster already includes Kroger, Publix, Aldi, and of course Whole Foods. It’s also expanded geographically, starting 2017 in 30 markets and growing to 163 now. “Whole Foods is only one percent of the overall grocery market,” Mehta said. “What we are trying to do is sign on the other 98 percent.” For Albertsons, the deal is part of an effort to move towards an omnichannel model. “Instacart’s extensive delivery network combined with Albertsons Companies existing home delivery services and established, robust e-commerce offering creates a fantastic customer proposition,” Shane Sampson, the company’s Chief Marketing and Merchandising Officer, said. Albertsons, which brought in sales of $59 billion last year, also acquired meal-kit delivery service Plated in September, another instance of major companies buying up smaller firms to expand their audience online.

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