Featured Indicator: Instacart Purchases

December 16, 2019 Jessica Tagliafierro


Over the last few years there has been an explosion in online grocery ordering, delivery, and pickup services. According to data from PitchBook, coinciding with this has been a steady increase in the amount of capital invested into U.S. food technology companies, through private equity, venture capital, M&A, and IPOs.

Investment in Food Technology Companies; Source: PitchBook

Consumers increasingly expect grocery stores and grocery retailers to offer rapid pickup options, with many grocery chains now taking this a step further and offering grocery delivery. Delivery services such as Instacart and GrubMarket have partnered with numerous chains to facilitate and handle delivery, removing several of the largest barriers to entry of this service line. A quick search on Instacart’s site reveals that there are a number of stores offering free delivery to Camoin’s Saratoga Springs office.

Instacart Delivery Options for Camoin's Saratoga Office; Source: Instacart


In May 2017, Instacart released a public dataset- “The Instacart Online Grocery Shopping Dataset 2017.” This is an anonymized dataset that contains a sample of over 3 million grocery orders from more than 200,000 Instacart users. Internally, Instacart uses this data along with machine learning to improve the usability of the site and the shopping experience for consumers by sorting items for users to buy again and recommending items to users while they shop. The dataset includes information on the number of times a product is ordered, the time of day an item is purchased, and the order in which an item is added to a user’s cart.

Using this data, we are able to see what the most popular (and least popular) items to be ordered on Instacart were for this sample. The most popular items were primarily produce and organic foods, while the least frequently ordered items included more household and personal care goods.​


Image Source: Adobe Spark