LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – On Monday, it was announced that the University of Kentucky was partnering with the popular grocery delivery service, Instacart.

The two are looking to see if and how food can be medicine for people. The partnership is part of UK’s Food as Health Alliance and will look at two specific groups.

The first is women who are pregnant and have either type two diabetes or gestational diabetes. The second group is Medicaid adults ages 18-64 who have either type two diabetes or hypertension.

Each group will get a certain amount of money to spend on groceries, trying to determine whether or not online grocery shopping reduces health care costs.

Reducing visits people make to the emergency room or a doctor, as well as whether or not it improves things such as blood glucose and blood sugar.

UK professors hope that establishing healthy shopping habits will ultimately lead to other healthy food-related choices among participants.

“We’re offering recipes, we’re offering cooking demonstrations, we’re offering text message nudging to help them deal with leftovers and how to use those leftovers,” said Professor in UK’s College of Agriculture, Food & Environment Alison Gustafson. “In a healthy way and so we’ve really learned that cooking meal, prep meal planning, it is a skill set that a lot of people don’t have. So, it’s one thing to get the food delivered, but we also need to help improve that skill set among these participants and we’re hoping we can.”

Gustafson is also the director of the Food as Health Alliance at UK. She said this is not the first time UK and Instacart partnered on a project like this.

About a year ago, the two conducted research to see whether or not online shopping reduces impulse buying among shoppers, and ultimately leads to healthier decisions.

In that research, the two found that among low-income shoppers, those who shopped for their groceries online through Instacart spent the same dollar amount as shoppers who shopped at their local Kroger.


But with that said, those same online shoppers, spent more on healthier items like fruits and vegetables. While the in-person shoppers made more impulse purchases on items like cookies and chips.

“So, its key is everyone was a winner in that situation,” Gustafson said. “So, we know that this is an avenue or a vehicle to really help make healthy purchases. So, we’ve kind of built off of that research and now we’re doing these packaging, this food as medicine package.”

The White House has even endorsed this latest partnership between Kentucky and Instacart as part of its campaign to end hunger and create healthier communities.

Participants for this program are expected to be chosen in the near future with it beginning in early summer.

For more information, you can find it here.