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Amazon now serves takeout -- and diapers

The new Amazon Elements lineup offers in-depth info on where its products come from, starting with diapers and baby wipes. Plus: In Seattle, at least, takeout is on the menu.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

The new Amazon Elements lineup speaks to consumers who want in-depth information about where products come from. Amazon/Screenshot by CNET

Parents of infants know two things for sure: they're facing a relentless demand for diapers, and they're not going out to dinner like they used to. Now Amazon has a pair of new offerings that address both of those predicaments.

The more widely available service -- for the company's Prime subscribers, that is -- comes under the heading of Amazon Elements, announced Thursday. With Elements, the company is promising "a new line of premium, everyday essentials," and the first products in the lineup are two items sure to be stacked on any changing table, diapers and baby wipes.

The retail giant did not indicate what other products would follow in the Amazon Elements line.

What Amazon emphasized instead was "transparent origins" -- that is, an array of information on the sourcing of the items and their ingredients.

"The two things customers told us they want are premium products that meet their high standards, and access to information so they can make informed decisions," Sunny Jain, Amazon.com Consumables vice president, said in a statement. "Amazon Elements offers both."

Meanwhile, Amazon is nipping at GrubHub with the launch of a new delivery and takeout service.

Amazon Local's new Take Out & Delivery is available only in Seattle at the moment, but in tweeting news of the service late Wednesday, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels said that the limitation to that city is only "for the moment."

Like GrubHub, Amazon's new service allows users to search for restaurants in their area and place orders for either takeout or delivery. According to Amazon, customers can pay with their Amazon accounts, and its current selection of restaurants includes everything from sushi bars to pizza shops.

While GrubHub can't be happy about having a heavyweight competitor to contend with, it's unlikely that Amazon will be able to reach its expanse anytime soon. GrubHub currently has approximately 30,000 takeout partners in over 800 cities around the world, including Las Vegas, New York, Boston and others. It also offers delivery and takeout services in London.

"GrubHub Inc. is the clear leader in the US restaurant food delivery space -- nobody is doing what we do, at our scale," a company spokeswoman said in an e-mailed statement Thursday. "We connect millions of hungry diners to 30,000 restaurants in more than 800 cities across the country and in London, and we process more than 172,000 orders via our online and mobile ordering platforms each day."

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.