What would you do if you saw a ridiculous product at a ridiculous price on a Whole Foods store shelf? Would you take a photo and post it on social media? If it was as ridiculous as this, you just might.
Yes, you're seeing three stalks of asparagus in a plastic bottle filled with water, with a $5.99 price tag and a list of warnings that's far longer than the list of two ingredients. (If you can't read it, the warning says the product has not been pasteurized so it may contain bacteria that can cause serious illness.)
When Marielle Wakim posted this to Instagram, the Internet took notice. Eater called the store and asked to speak with someone who could explain what the product was and why it had such a hefty price tag. An employee who did not give his name explained it this way to Eater.
"It's water, and we sort of cut asparagus stalks down so they're shorter, and put them into the container." When Eater asked what it was for, there was a long pause before he said, "Well, it's ... to drink." He elaborated, "The nutrients from the asparagus do transfer into the water."
This can't be serious, right? Even if the nutrients from the asparagus did make their way into the water in a small amount, does Whole Foods really think it's worth $5.99?
It turns out, Whole Foods doesn't. In a statement made to Eater after it published its story, Whole Foods said the product was a mistake, sold only at that one particular store. It was supposed to be "water with the essence of vegetables and/or mushrooms to be used as broth (similar to a bone broth), which are typically made over a long period of time soaking in water."
This was a one-time mistake, but Whole Foods has recently come under fire for more serious mistakes made with its in-house products. Earlier this summer, New York branches were found to be overcharging on packaged, fresh foods. About 89 percent of the foods tested were priced higher than they should have been.
There's no indication if anyone actually bought the asparagus water. Would you have thought this was a legitimate product?
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