The Most Popular Grocery Item, According To Instacart

Instacart shoppers can’t seem to get enough of these delivered.

If you had to guess the most popular grocery store item most routinely purchased in the United States and Canada, would you even start in the right supermarket department? You might think it's a common ingredient, like flour, or something most families consume each day, like breakfast cereal. Instead, it's a produce aisle staple: According to data from Instacart, bananas are the top-selling grocery item on the mobile grocery shopping and delivery app—and they have been for most of the past decade, as long as Instacart has existed.

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Instacart’s top-selling groceries

To track bananas' dominance, Instacart looked at data from all of its 2022 grocery deliveries and found them to be a top-seller in both the United States and Canada. The company has also determined that since its founding in 2012, Instacart has delivered more than 1 billion bananas to customers.

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To help us wrap our heads around the concept of a billion bananas, Instacart has provided some visual comparisons—for example, if laid end to end, this many bananas could travel from New York City to Los Angeles at least 47 times, and if they were stacked one atop the other, they'd reach a height of 486,229 Empire State Buildings.

"In 2022, one in four carts contained bananas and this number has remained relatively consistent from year to year," Laurentia Romaniuk, Instacart's trends expert, said in the post, adding that bananas are "a completely trend-proof food."

The states with the highest percentage of banana orders through Instacart are Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota, Colorado, and Pennsylvania. Coming in at the bottom, with the lowest percentage of grocery deliveries including bananas, are Hawaii, Louisiana, Alaska, Alabama, and Maine.

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Instacart also noted that people are picky about their bananas. Thankfully, even when you order grocery delivery, there's a way to score the perfect banana: In the app, users can take advantage of the special instructions feature to communicate their preferred banana ripeness to the Instacart shopper preparing their order. Instacart notes that nearly 40% of banana orders with special instructions contain the word "green." (Here's a quick guide to decoding your bananas' ripeness.)

Why bananas are so popular

Banana smoothiespeanut butter and banana sandwiches, banana pudding, banana chicken casserole, caramelized banana upside-down cake—okay, I'll stop before this becomes the Forrest Gump reference I was aiming for. But to put it simply, bananas have a vast number of uses, which makes their unending popularity so understandable.

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Despite my preference for a mostly green-tinted banana, this fruit is useful at just about every stage of its existence. In fact, there are plenty of ways to use bananas that you probably never even considered. For example, bananas can be used to form a sweet and tangy condiment. Yes, banana ketchup is a versatile ingredient in Filipino cuisine, one that can be used as a topping, dipping sauce, or marinade component.

For all its simplicity, the benefits of bananas can outdo even the most scientifically engineered sports drinks on the market. The anti-inflammatory benefits of eating bananas, along with other benefits the fruit provides, have been shown to enhance performance for athletes at a level comparable to sports drinks and even beyond them, considering bananas don't have added sugars or artificial ingredients.

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Another possible reason bananas stay so popular is that they come with their own protective casing and individualized portions. Their biggest downside is the rate at which they ripen. Luckily, though, keeping bananas fresh is simple, and we can only assume they'll continue to have staying power in shoppers' grocery carts.

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