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Cub Foods is starting its own online pickup and delivery services, a sign they have become integral to the grocery shopping experience.

Cub, the market leader in the Twin Cities grocery industry, since 2015 has relied on Instacart, a national leader in online ordering and delivery, to handle its e-commerce customers.

The rise in such ordering during the pandemic led Cub executives to accelerate the company's plans to offer such services itself, said Chad Bersie, director of e-commerce at Cub.

"We know that customers now trust other people shopping for their groceries," Bersie said Thursday.

While anyone will be able to shop via Cub's online platform, people who are enrolled in its customer loyalty program, called My Cub Rewards, will be able to get similar benefits shopping online as they would inside its stores.

That includes access to exclusive promotions, preloaded savings and digital coupons, and building up points that can be used for discounts at participating Holiday Stationstores.

To promote its new online service, Cub is offering free pickup and delivery for all orders placed through Nov. 13. After that time, delivery orders by customers with a minimum purchase of $50 and a linked rewards account will be $9.99. Its standard delivery fee otherwise is $11.98.

For customers who pick up orders, the standard fee is $1.99 or free with a $50 minimum purchase and a linked rewards account.

Cub said there are no hidden or additional multiple fees. "It's one flat fee up front," Bersie said.

Instacart customers can still order groceries from Cub via that platform but will not receive Cub's incentives.

Cub in June began offering home delivery from its liquor stores. It will now use the same company, Capstone Logistics of Brooklyn Park, to handle its food deliveries.

Capstone will use 300 independent contractors for deliveries from Cub's 79 grocery stores and 28 Wine & Spirits and Liquor locations throughout Minnesota. Delivery drivers will wear the Cub logo on their uniform for identification purposes.

Cub customers will receive a text notification with a link to track their delivery driver's location.

Cub Foods, based in Stillwater, was established in 1968 as one of the nation's first discount grocery stores and is now owned by UNFI, a national wholesaler best known as a distributor to Whole Foods. Cub operates 80 grocery stores in Minnesota and Illinois.