Are DoorDash and Instacart the Same Company?


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There are a couple of companies providing online grocery ordering for pickup or delivery. It can be a bit confusing telling them apart. But a lot of people ask me, are DoorDash and Instacart the same company?

Here’s what I know:

Instacart and DoorDash are not the same company. Instacart was founded by former Amazon employee Apoorva Mehta under the company name Maplebear Inc. whereas DoorDash was founded by Tony Xu along with Andy Fang and Stanley Tang.

Instacart, through its partnership with grocery stores, delivers groceries and drinks to your doorstep when you order using its app or website.

DoorDash, by comparison, partners with grocery stores and local restaurants, enabling you to order groceries, meals, and drinks.

Read on to learn more riveting facts about DoorDash and Instacart. We’ll get into how they differ, if one is better than the other and if one marks up groceries more than the other.

Let’s dive right in…

Ready to start ordering from Instacart?

CLICK HERE to go to the Instacart order page.

Is there another company like Instacart?

There are several companies like Instacart in the online grocery delivery space. Some of these companies include DoorDash, Amazon Fresh, Farmstead, Shipt, FreshDirect, and Blue Apron.

So, there are alternatives to Instacart. But, as of the time of writing, it’s the top dog in the sector.

Let’s check out Farmstead (because it’s free of charge) and FreshDirect. Both do not simply deliver, they’re online grocers.

This is why Farmstead doesn’t charge for deliveries. We’ll get back to it in a bit.

FreshDirect

FreshDirect is one of the earliest online grocery shopping and delivery services, having started operations in 2002 (that’s 10 years before Instacart).

It doesn’t have as wide a coverage as Instacart, but its niche is great fresh food. It offers deals on Thursdays and has DeliveryPass, which effectively makes delivery free of cost to you.

It has skilled merchants who search the world for the best products and experts who taste an average of 800 products each day!

So, you can be sure of the quality of what you’re ordering. And, it offers a 100% money-back guarantee. It has programs through which it helps the needy in the community.

Farmstead

Farmstead is the first online grocer to offer groceries for free and at prices that are cheaper than those offered by top supermarkets. 

Its mission is to make high-quality, locally sourced food available for everyone.

To achieve it, it’s leveraging AI technology to reinvent the grocery buying experience and warehousing to significantly reduce waste.

You don’t pay for deliveries.

Is Instacart more widely available than DoorDash?

DoorDash is not more widely available than Instacart. Instacart is present in 5,500 cities in the U.S. and Canada. DoorDash is present in both countries, too, in 4000 cities. 

It’s important to stress that both are highly similar services. 

What research reveals is a lot more interesting and nuanced. Let’s check it out. Despite Instacart’s presence in more cities, it only has 9.6 million users, relative to DoorDash’s 18 million.

So Instacart is in more cities, but more people use DoorDash.

Of course, both Instacart and DoorDash have been growing at dizzying rates for a few years now, and this was accelerated by the pandemic.

The challenges it presented almost overwhelmed most grocery stores and grocery delivery services. Instacart and DoorDash are part of a few that rode the wave to exponential growth.

Apptopia reported that Instacart’s app daily download increased by 218% in 2020.

DoorDash’s download increased by 241%.

To provide some context, during the same period, Walmart grocery increased by 160%, while Shipt increased by 124%. DoorDash controls 45% of the U.S. food delivery market. But, it’s only recently added grocery deliveries to its offering. In fact, it just added that in 2020.

A move that some see as taking aim at Instacart’s bacon.

If you love Walmart, you’re probably wondering if DoorDash delivers for it. Yes, it does. Check out more details in a recent article of mine.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Do more grocery stores use Instacart than DoorDash?

Currently, more grocery stores use Instacart than DoorDash. Instacart delivers from 3,300 stores across more than 30 states. DoorDash delivers for 226 restaurants and 1800 stores across all 50 states.

The statistics above make sense seeing as DoorDash has only recently added grocery delivery to its offering in 2020.

Instacart, on the other hand, had been delivering groceries from the get-go in 2012. Instacart also delivers alcohol. DoorDash offers alcohol too.

Alcohol, as you know, is a “sensitive” product. So, there are some vital details one needs to know before it can be ordered online. In a recent article of mine, I shared the lowdown on Instacart’s alcohol delivery service.

It’s currently delivering in 14 states. You must show your ID and be physically present to collect your package. And, you can’t be visibly tolerated.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

It’s highly conceivable that we’d experience intense competition between both companies. It’s interesting, seeing as both benefited from the same incubator: Y combinator.

The opportunity for growth in the food delivery business is incredibly high, especially when you consider that online grocery shopping is still just about 10% of total grocery sales.

Does DoorDash markup groceries less than Instacart?

DoorDash does not markup groceries. The prices they charge are the same as in-store prices. Instacart, on the other hand, does markup prices significantly when it’s purchasing grocery items for customers from stores it has NOT partnered with.

DoorDash charges about $5 to $8 per delivery (excluding tips for its drivers who do the delivery).

But, if you have DoorPass, its subscription service, you enjoy free delivery on all orders over $12. DoorPass comes to about $9.9 per month.

Instacart charges delivery fees starting at $3.99 for orders over $35. But for orders under $35, delivery fees start at $7.99.

On orders over $35, delivery fees are waived if you’re an Instacart Express member. 

It’s also $9.99 per month. Or, $99 per year, and there’s a 14-day trial period. Seeing as Instacart marks up some of its prices, it’s possible you’ll get a better deal from DoorDash, seeing as one of its partners is Walmart. 

If I were you, I’d place orders on both websites to confirm each order’s actual cost and simply cancel the more expensive one.

But it’s good to note that Instacart doesn’t actually markup all prices. There are no markups when you are purchasing from stores Instacart has partnered with

You’re probably interested in having more info about why Instacart marks up its prices, right? You’re in luck because that’s what I explored in a recent article of mine. 

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Who is the best grocery delivery service?

AmazonFresh is the best grocery delivery service. It is free to Amazon Prime members, and the only additional fee charged is if the order does not meet the minimum threshold. Groceries may be delivered from Whole Foods Market, but orders can also be fulfilled from Amazon’s many warehouses as well.

But that’s not to say any of the other grocery online ordering companies aren’t good. 

They all have their pros and cons, and especially if you aren’t an Amazon Prime member, you might be better off with one of the other ones.

So, I’ll share the names of the top contenders and their key advantages. If you’re on a budget, FreshDirect is the best.

You’ll need to be in their coverage area, be prepared to accept groceries midweek, and sign up for a subscription. Instacart or Shipt are great if you’re more interested in having a large selection and have preferences for certain brands.

They’re both ready to offer you a variety of items from a wide selection of stores.

But, they’re not as budget-friendly as FreshDirect. For budget-friendly, same-day delivery Amazon and Shipt are cool. You can get same-day delivery options from the aforementioned, too.

But it’s a tad pricey and requires some planning. Lastly, if you’re into high-quality organic produce Amazon (in partnership with Whole Foods) is what I’ll recommend.

I’ll say your best option, all things being equal, is Amazon Fresh.

Conclusion

There are many companies in the grocery delivery space. It’s a sector that’s growing at an impressive rate.

We learned that Instacart and DoorDash are not the same company.

Both benefited from Y combinator’s incubation, but Instacart was founded in 2012, while DoorDash was launched a year after and originally started life as Paloaltodelivery.com.

Of course, they offer similar services.

We checked out which service is more widely available, the one that has lower markups, which one works with more stores, and we wrapped things up by looking at the best grocery delivery service.

Ready to start ordering from Instacart?

CLICK HERE to go to the Instacart order page.


Photos that require attribution: 

A Street Scene on Granville Street, Downtown, Vancouver during . . . by GoToVan and Publix Instacart Parking Spot by Keith C is licensed under CC2.0 and were cropped, merged, and had a graphic and text overlay added.

Jeff Campbell

Hi! I'm Jeff Campbell. I was a leader for Whole Foods Market for over 2 decades. I worked in 9 stores in 4 states, not counting the hundred-plus stores I've assisted in other ways. I was a Global All-Star, a Gold Pen Winner, and won Top-10 Store (company-wide) 3 times in addition to Best New Store (company-wide).

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