- On Wednesday, Uber announced four planned updates to its Uber Eats app. Later this year, users will be able to browse a virtual “sales aisle” that will house promotions and deals as well as have the option to use an artificial intelligence-powered conversational tool to help plan meals, order ingredients and find sales on grocery items.
- In 2024, the app will start accepting SNAP/EBT and healthcare benefits for payment.
- The upcoming app features come at a time when Uber is looking to deepen its grocery e-commerce presence and keep up with competing providers Instacart and DoorDash.
Uber positioned its Uber Eats app updates as ways to boost access to healthier food and help consumers save time and money.
Uber said it is working with Managed Medicaid and Medicare Advantage plans to accept benefits linked to Flexible Spending Account (FSA) cards, flex cards and “relevant waiver payments” on Uber, noting that “select” healthcare benefit payment methods will be allowed on its platform next year.
A spokesperson for Uber said that the healthcare benefit payments are an industry first.
Meanwhile, the AI assistant will allow customers to explore new dishes, find deals at popular restaurants, reorder meals, help plan meals, find sales on grocery items and order recipe ingredients.
The sales aisle includes the option for users to search for deals by store as well as find deals on “top items.”
With the updates, Uber Eats joins DoorDash and Instacart in offering SNAP payments. DoorDash added the ability for users to pay with SNAP/EBT this summer as part of the biggest app update in its 10-year history. That update also added a universal search bar, the ability to build multiple carts and new navigation tabs such as a “grocery” one.
Instacart helped pioneer SNAP online shopping and last year rolled out a discounted membership for SNAP participants. While the company does not currently accept FSA or Health Savings Account (HSA) funds — customers who buy eligible items have to seek reimbursement from their benefit providers — it does have dedicated pop-up shops for FSA and HSA items, as well as FSA- and HSA-eligible product tags.
The Uber Eats updates come at a time when Uber is battling DoorDash and Instacart in the grocery e-commerce space. The announcement comes just a few days after Uber announced new tie-ups with The Save Mart Companies and The Fresh Market, expanding grocery partner count.
Earlier this week, DoorDash announced eight new grocery partnerships, including Cub, Eataly, El Super and Stater Bros. Markets, expanding the company’s third-party e-commerce service to more than 400 regional and specialty stores.