By JACK WEATHERLY
The days of home delivery of dairy products were long gone till megachains recently found a way to make use of an expanded version of that old business model.
One of the latest delivery systems, Instacart, started operating in the Jackson area on Thursday, servicing customers of Kroger, Petco and Whole Foods.
Kroger had said in May that it would test delivery using Uber, the ride-sharing firm, before the end of the year in its Delta Division, which includes much of Mississippi, including Jackson.
Calls to the Kroger division for this article as to how the use of Instacart might affect plans with Uber were not returned.
The Whole Foods-Instacart connection will not have an immediate major impact in Mississippi, as the only one in the state is in Jackson.
Shareholders of Whole Foods, which has more than 450 stores in the nation, voted Wednesday in favor of the $13.7 billion sale to Amazon, the day before Instacart service starts in Mississippi.
Walmart, the top competitor for Kroger, announced Monday that it is expanding its online delivery serve to Dallas and Orlando, adding them to list of four other cities, San Jose, Calif.; Denver; Phoenix and Tampa.
Instacart, which was founded in 2012 in San Francisco, is looking to hire 100 shoppers for its Jackson area operation, Vargas said. Its market includes 231,000 households in 23 zip codes in Jackson, Brandon, Byram, Pearl, Richland, Flowood, Madison, Annadale, Ridgeland, Clinton, Raymond, Western Hills, Terry, Anse, Florence, Whitfield and Goshen Springs, according to Martha Vargas, operations manager for the company. Instacart also delivers for independent grocers around the country, she said.
With the Uber connection, the deliveries would be made for a fee.
In Richmond, Va., for instance, the delivery charge is $11.95, which includes $4.95 for the Kroger ClickList fee, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Instacart will bypass Clicklist and charge $5.99 per delivery, with a $35 minimum, usually within two hours. For delivery within an hour after the order is placed at instacart.com the charge is $7.99, Vargas said.
Normal hours of operation are between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m., she said.