Peapod LLC, headquartered in the Windy City, has been a Chicago fixture since 1989. It was the first online grocer in the U.S. and has been an innovator in the online delivery business. Now, Peapod has changed gears and moved on to focus efforts on the East Coast markets leaving Chicago and the Midwest with a gaping hole. Peapod was not only a favorite among locals for its competitive prices, but it appears that 500 associates are now likely to lose their jobs. Ahold-Delhaize, the parent company, has said that these associates will be eligible for other positions within the company, but who will acquire all of those disheartened Chicago customers?

Photo provided by Paul Sableman CC BY 2.0

The clear head start that Peapod had in the grocery delivery market has vanished in recent years. New companies have bitten into the market share and giant grocers have developed their own internal delivery systems. Illinois based Jewel-Osco could be a prime candidate to pick up the pieces as they have been around since 1899. What started as door-to-door salesmen has evolved into a vital part of the Albertson’s brand that serves all of Chicago. Jewel offers home delivery that leverages their own delivery trucks and drivers, which gives the company untold control and flexibility with guarantees to their delivery times. They often offer discounts and share in-store sales with online customers because they don’t have to worry about third party service fees.

On the other hand, some smaller companies will be able to compete for customers with giants like Jewel-Osco by utilizing third party delivery services. The most impactful of these is Instacart and its wide usage rate among Chicago grocery companies. Chains like Jetro Cash & Carry and Aldi Inc. may not have the same size as Jewel-Osco but Instacart can give them comparable reach without investing in a proprietary delivery system, albeit with some limitations to service fees and delivery times. Competition for Peapod’s customers in Chicago will be fierce. Ahold Delhaize has said that they expect operating profits and 2020 e-commerce growth to remain the same despite the announcement, indicating that they have been eyeing a Chicago exit for some time.

CSG tracks over 100 chains that operate in Illinois and thousands across the country that are likely to be vying for Peapod’s customers. Some of these chains are behemoths ready to take market share while others will be entering the grocery delivery business to stay competitive. Subscribe to CSG’s Supermarket, Grocery & Convenience Store Chains Plus Database and access full company profiles, including contact information for its key decision makers. In addition, Chain Store Guide Locus validates and monitors geocoded location data for these retailers and over 750,000 across the U.S.