Uber goes big on groceries in the US

In what some view as a late and risky move, Uber has announced it is to roll out same-day grocery delivery to more than 400 cities and towns in the US.

The move, announced on Monday will double Uber’s grocery delivery reach across the country. To support the move, Uber is to work with grocery chain Albertsons Co and 1200 of its stores as well as other major players including Randalls, Safeway and Tom Thumb.

Major cities in the Uber grocery delivery expansion will include New York City, Washington DC, Miami, San Francisco, Dallas and Phoenix, with other big cities to be announced in due course.

“This past year has been one of incredible growth for grocery delivery,” said Raj Beri, Uber’s global head of grocery and new verticals. “Today nearly 3 million consumers order groceries and other essentials each month through Uber and we’re just getting started. By adding thousands of beloved grocers to our selection this year, we are fast-tracking our efforts to help Americans get everything they need from their favourite supermarket delivered to their doorsteps.”

Though dramatic, the move could face problems down the line as it isn’t known whether, as quarantine restrictions are lifted in the US, shoppers will continue to order groceries for delivery in as big numbers as during the peak of the pandemic. It is a crowded market too with big players like DoorDash already in strong positions in the US. Uber has retreated from new markets before in the face of competition and this could well happen again.