Lyft Pivots to Meet Increased Grocery Delivery Demand

Over 120,000 Lyft drivers have signed up to deliver groceries to vulnerable community members

Need to Know

  • Lyft joins a number of other businesses pivoting its service offerings to support their communities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The rideshare app will now partner with government agencies and non-profits to deliver groceries to vulnerable community members.
  • As a result of the pandemic, grocery delivery demand has increased significantly, resulting in wait times lasting days or even weeks.


Ride-share app Lyft is pivoting its service offering to now provide meal and grocery delivery for those who need it. 

In late March, Lyft advertised the opportunity to drivers who have seen their usual work hours significantly reduced. In the new initiative, called Essential Deliveries, government agencies, non-profits, and other organizations that work with vulnerable communities can request the delivery of meals, groceries, medication, and other household items from Lyft drivers. 

Over 120,000 drivers have since signed up to support their communities. 

The program relies on key partnerships, like with Dole Packaged Foods which is working to have nutritious meals delivered to senior facilities, or Army of Angels which brings lunches to low-income families. 

“With Lyft’s help, we’re now able to help meet the critical needs of vulnerable populations — by delivering nutritious food from warehouses to senior facilities — faster and more efficiently than we could on our own,” said Dave Spare, VP of Marketing at Dole Packaged Foods. “We hope to keep growing our partnership with Lyft to make an even greater impact and build healthy communities, in line with our purpose of providing access to nutrition to all people.” 

The Essential Deliveries program will roll out in select cities in the United States before expanding the service to other regions. 

Lyft joins a number of other brands who are pivoting their business strategy to help out amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Lyft rival Uber is repurposing its UberEats service to now deliver grocery orders, which can be placed through the app or over the phone.

In the UK, restaurant delivery app Deliveroo has partnered with major convenience stores and supermarkets to deliver groceries to those who need it, and is also providing free meals to healthcare workers. 

Existing grocery delivery apps may actually appreciate the newfound competition. The increased demand for grocery delivery has put a huge strain on existing services, resulting in wait times that can last days or even weeks. 

In the past few weeks, Instacart has seen a 150% increase in demand, executing thousands of orders per day with longer-than-normal wait times. 

The grocery delivery app plans to hire over 300,000 new shoppers in the coming weeks.