AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

One intriguing element of Amazon's $13.7 billion deal for Whole Foods is the latter's relationship with grocery delivery service Instacart, which is valued at $3.4 billion — a relationship whose importance varies, depending on how you look at it.

Very important: As of a year ago, Instacart orders accounted for "mid-to-high single digits" of Whole Foods sales in markets where the service is available, with some stores having an average order size of $100, per an earnings call. At some stores, Instacart accounted for as much as 15% of total sales, according to TechCrunch.

Not really important: At the same time, Instacart accounts for a very small percentage of Whole Foods' overall revenue. The grocer says that it expects to generate nearly $400 million in digital sales in 2017, mostly through Instacart, which would be only around 2.5% of anticipated overall sales. Whole Foods also represents just under 10% of Instacart's sales, a source tells Axios, though it's unclear if this includes delivery and service fees.

Locked out: In 2016 the companies signed a five-year agreement that made Instacart the exclusive delivery service for Whole Foods' perishable items. And, according to a source familiar with the situation, Whole Foods has no contractual "out," which would mean Amazon won't be delivering you kale and organic eggs from Whole Foods anytime soon.

Spokespeople for both Instacart and Whole Foods declined to comment on the specifics of their contract.

The story has been updated to note that it's unclear whether Whole Foods' portion of Instacart sales includes fees.

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Over 73 million people watched the first debate on TV

Data: Nielsen; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

More than 73.1 million people watched the first presidential debate on television on Monday night, according to Nielsen ratings.

Why it matters: While that's a sizable audience for any American TV program, it's down more than 13% from the record number of TV viewers who tuned in for the first debate of the 2016 election. The chaotic nature of the debate and the overall uncertainty around this year's election may have pushed some viewers away.

Senate passes bill funding government through December

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Senate on Tuesday passed legislation to fund the federal government through Dec. 11, by a vote of 84-10.

Where it stands: The legislation will avert a government shutdown before funding expires Wednesday night and before the Nov. 3 election. The House passed the same measure last week by a vote of 359-57 after House Democrats and the Trump administration agreed on the resolution.

  • Both sides agreed early in negotiations that the bill should be a "clean" continuing resolution — meaning each party would only make small changes to existing funding levels so the measure would pass through both chambers quickly, Axios' Alayna Treene reported last week. The bill now goes to President Trump for signature.
Bryan Walsh, author of Future
54 mins ago - Technology

The age of engineering life begins

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Synthetic biology startups raised some $3 billion through the first half of 2020, up from $1.9 billion for all of 2019, as the field brings the science of engineering to the art of life.

The big picture: Synthetic biologists are gradually learning how to program the code of life the way that computer experts have learned to program machines. If they can succeed — and if the public accepts their work — synthetic biology stands to fundamentally transform how we live.