After being caught ripping off customers in New York City stores, Whole Foods is again making headlines for allegations it is overcharging customers.
An Instagram user captured bottles of “Asparagus Water” being sold at a Whole Foods in Brentwood, Calif. appeared to be three stalks of asparagus in water.
By comparison, Whole Foods sells whole bundles of asparagus for about $5 on its delivery service Instacart, according to Eater.
“Somewhere in L.A., Whole Foods executives are laughing at all of us,” writes user who goes by the name marielle.m.n.o.p.
People across social expressed their disbelief that the supermarket could sell the overprices beverage – but not all were surprised.
I can't stop laughing at this asparagus water. Someone actually said yes, YES, $5.99 for 3 spears of asparagus in a bottle of water. Do it!
— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) August 3, 2015
If any of you ever catch me buying a $6 bottle of "asparagus water" at Whole Foods - or anywhere - you are free to punch me on sight.
— Mark Schofield (@MarkSchofield) August 3, 2015
Asparagus water has to be a joke. A sick joke.
— Yoga Goddess (@knightbeatsday) August 3, 2015
Eater called Whole Foods for an explanation behind the product and were initially told the water did not even exist. Soon, a “gentleman in the product department” who refused to give his name eventually acknowledged the existence of the asparagus water and touted its supposed health benefits.
"We've had them on the shelf for the last few days," he told Eater. "It's water, and we sort of cut asparagus stalks down so they're shorter, and put them into the container. The nutrients from the asparagus do transfer into the water."
But Whole Foods corporate has since backtracked on defending the item. Senior Media Relations Specialist Liz Burkhart sent Eater a statement Tuesday night saying that the asparagus water pictured was “made incorrectly” and has since been removed from the store where it was carried.
"We appreciate you bringing this to our attention. We looked into this right away and found that this item was being carried in just one of our stores in California,” Burkhart explained. “It was meant 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. The product was made incorrectly and has since been removed from the one store where it was carried.”