Kroger Co. KR 0.49% said it is partnering with Instacart Inc. to deliver food and household staples in as little as 30 minutes, bringing the supermarket giant further into a crowded grocery-delivery business.

Kroger tested 30-minute delivery about two years ago, but the grocer found it difficult to expand the service quickly with only its staffers, said Rodney McMullen, chief executive officer of Kroger. It will be easier to expand the service with Instacart, he said, because the grocery-delivery provider has the technology and shoppers in place to pick and deliver grocery staples, household products and prepared meals from Kroger’s more than 2,700 stores.

Grocery delivery has become a competitive market as companies ranging from upstarts to giants like Amazon.com Inc. try to grab a bigger slice of consumer spending. It remains tough to reach consistent profitability in delivery because of high labor and transportation costs.

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