The pointless flavored water is funniest moment in a long line of unfunny mistakes the store chain has made recently
You've probably raised an eyebrow at a newfangled "enhanced" water on the supermarket shelf—a pricier version of these DIY Infused Water Recipes That Upgrade Your H2O. The newest in that market is asparagus water—literally a bottle of water with a few whole asparagus stalks shoved in it, selling at some Whole Foods locations for around the price of a fresh juice ($6).
The internet let out a collective ewww earlier this week over when a Brentwood, CA, shopper posted the crazy product to Instagram. Some people wondered if they were being pranked, others thought it was a test (how hipster are you?), and one creative person even took it as a tongue-in-cheek diet tip.
But Whole Foods spokesman Liz Burkhart said it was really all just a mistake. "We actually don't sell asparagus water in our stores," she told USA Today.
Then Whole Foods quietly yanked the gross-looking product, saying the debacle was the result of a recipe mistake. "It was meant to be water with the essence of vegetables and/or mushrooms, which is typically made over a long period of time soaking in water," Burkhart added, comparing it to trendy bone broth (which actually does have health benefits: 8 Reasons to Try Bone Broth). "It was made incorrectly."
Ya don't say.
We would love to have seen how exactly that went down. We imagine something like this:
"Hey Starlie, the bosses say we're supposed to make some kind of vegetable water."
"Makes sense, Atticus. Healthy people love both vegetables and water."
"So... how do we make this fancy one-ingredient cold soup?"
"First of all, it's uncooked broth. Soup is very 2008. And just shove some veggies in water. Here, try asparagus, it's already bottle-shaped."
"I didn't think people liked green plant things floating in their water?"
"Um, hello, have you seen Kombucha? It's pretty much our best seller."
However, this is just the latest in a string of very unfunny problems for the health food grocery chain. Last month customers were angered after a sting operation found that Whole Foods had been overcharging them on hundreds of items. This followed a 10 percent drop in their stock price, even more evidence that people are losing faith in the store.
But the thing is, plant waters done right really are a great way to stay hydrated and add some vital nutrients to your diet, says Shape nutrition advisor, Mike Roussell, M.D. While you still need to be conscious of calories—sugar is sugar no matter what the source—there's no harm in pleasing your palate while meeting your daily H2O requirements. A few enhanced liquids a little more legit than asparagus water? Maple, coconut, watermelon, cactus, and birch, suggests Roussell (find out more in Ask the Diet Doctor: Benefits of Plant Waters). Not only are there no green stalks growing in them, but we promise they're all way less than $6 a bottle. Drink up!