Instacart, the San Francisco-based grocery technology company, is headed to the health and wellness aisle.
Ahead of a potential initial public offering, the company is launching Instacart Health, a health and wellness initiative that executives said will advance the work it has done with food assistance programs, nutrition education and prescribed meal plans.
“This is a natural extension of Instacart,” said Sarah Mastorocco, Instacart Health’s general manager. “We need to make sure that people think of us beyond just their consumer need.”
The launch of Instacart Health comes as the company prepares to go public after filing confidentially in May. Instacart declined to comment on a potential IPO date.
A recent report in The Information said the company laid off some of its 3,000 workers and was curbing expenses in the lead-up to the IPO.
Thanks to macroeconomic headwinds, the number of IPOs has dropped sharply across all industries. In digital health, only one company has gone public in 2022 compared with 20 companies that went public last year. A report in The Wall Street Journal said Instacart is using its IPO to retain talent rather than raising funds, primarily selling employee shares to new investors.
As part of the launch of Instacart Health, the company is working with Boston-based digital health company Good Measures and health insurance company WellCare of Kentucky to make food prescription programs available for Medicaid members. Good Measures’ dietitians will work with members to create a nutrition plan for them, which will be accessible via Instacart.
Mastorocco said the company aims to work with other insurance companies, health systems and other stakeholders to make prescribed meals and food stipends available on the Instacart app.
“There are a lot of potential areas and it depends on the use case,” Mastorocco said. “For example, with hospital systems, it could be in restorative care for post-surgery, giving patients a list that helps them control their diet for the 30 days after surgery.”
Food delivered to individuals living with severe illness, known as medically tailored groceries, is not a benefit covered by many insurance companies. As part of the White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health, taking place Wednesday, the Biden administration is recommending a Medicare Advantage pilot with coverage of medically tailored groceries.
For low-income consumers, Instacart will allow people to use their Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits, which is a federal cash assistance program that helps low-income families purchase everyday essentials, via the Instacart app. The company also said it will make it easier for people to use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program assistance funds.
This story first appeared in Digital Health Business & Technology.