Swimming Against the Current: Wild Planet Foods' Journey to Challenge Industry Giants with Instacart Ads

By Tinuiti Team

Tinuiti Live 2023 was jam packed with thoughtful keynotes, engaging networking opportunities, and practical fireside chats. This year’s sessions challenged us to question our way to clarity and there’s no better way to do just that than with an insightful Q&A.

Elizabeth Marsten, VP of Commerce Media Strategic Services at Tinuiti sat down with David DeRobbio, Partnerships from Instacart and Max Rudy, Director of E-commerce from Wild Planet Foods to chat about all things Instacart during their Tinuiti Live breakout session. Wild Planet Foods is a sustainability-driven canned seafood brand – whose vision is to transform fishing into a force for good. Tin fish is experiencing a renaissance these days and Wild Planet was on a mission to take on its competitors, the whales of tinned fish, with the help of both Tinuiti and Instacart. 

To kick off the session, Marsten asked Rudy why he was interested in joining the team at Wild Planet, and at first, many of us were surprised to find out that he wasn’t…

“I was not originally interested in working for a tin fish company due to environmental concerns, etc. but when Wild Planet shared their story and mission, I had a change of heart. Not only is this a better tasting product, but it is doing everything right in the sustainability area to try to be a net positive solution.” 

—  Max Rudy, Director of E-commerce from Wild Planet Foods


Wild Planet is the first large-scale sustainably focused seafood company. This is a cause that is integral to the brand and they are successfully showcasing their mission throughout their content and are inspiring consumers to make thoughtful purchases. Wild Planet is currently stealing market share from bigger brands and their strategy on Instacart has played a huge role in that, but Rudy shared with attendees how that wasn’t always the case… 

“When I first started with Wild Planet, my Instacart representative said that we were the only brand eligible for a coupon for free ad space because we were the only ones not spending on Instacart.” 


And while they certainly weren’t the first on Instacart, the brand has come a long way since… 


“We started our relationship with Tinuiti and within our first quarter, Instacart has become by far our best practice and our driving force of retail media.”

—  Max Rudy, Director of E-commerce from Wild Planet Foods


Wild planet didn’t have any funds allocated to Instacart advertising last year, but noted that, “you’re doing business on Instacart whether you take care of it or not, that’s why it’s important to treat Instacart like a customer. Your ability to utilize the tool set gives brands the ability to really democratize the shelf and be able to compete with really big players.”



During the discussion, it was acknowledged that retailers are inherently brick and mortar establishments and that transitioning into a digital company overnight is not a feasible option for many stores. But with the help of Instacart, grocery stores can make a seamless transition into the digital landscape.

“Instacart is a great opportunity for challenger brands to get that virtual shelf space that they might not necessarily get in a traditional brick and mortar experience.”

—  David DeRobbio, Partnerships from Instacart


DeRobbio explained how Instacart provides brands with a level playing field with the tools they offer. He described that no matter what the budget is, if you’re passionate about receiving market share, and dialing up your presence digitally, you can do just that with the help of Instacart.

DeRobbio went on to share a few examples of how Tinuiti is working with Wild Planet to achieve success on Instacart through retargeting opportunities and the success they’ve already seen. For example, Wild Planet retargeting display has driven an increase of +54% new to brand sales



“If you think about what it takes to be able to get on the shelf at the store, and then you times that by over 1,100 retailers – Instacart is truly a productivity enabler.” 

—  Max Rudy, Director of E-commerce from Wild Planet Foods



Rudy acknowledged how Wild Planet is asking potential customers to take the plunge on their product considering it’s $3-4 more than a regular can of tuna. They highlighted how it’s so important to show real product imagery, content, and solid brand messaging through Instacart’s suite of tools so consumers can be confident in the purchase they are making.

To wrap up the session, Marsten, moved the conversation into the future and asked DeRobbio what should brands do and how should they think about Instacart in 2023 and 2024? He went on to share a few tools brands should consider using moving forward including:





DeRobbio also mentioned that Instacart will continue to innovate in more upper-funnel opportunities including releasing a video display API. He also teased new AI features that will help shoppers easily add items from a recipe to their Instacart shopping cart. We’ll keep you posted as Instacart releases more information on these exciting AI features.

“It’s so exciting as the different tool sets come out, there’s always a different opportunity. As a brand you just have to have your story straight and know what you want to accomplish at that point in the funnel.”

—  Max Rudy, Director of E-commerce from Wild Planet Foods


Ready to think bigger about your brand’s strategy on Instacart? Contact us today to get started on the platform and make sure to check out this session (and additional Tinuiti Live sessions) on-demand

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