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Whole Foods got caught overcharging customers, but that's just part of the problem with food costs.

The harsh fact of the matter is that food is becoming less affordable for low-income families.

For years, people have debated whether or not it's worth shelling out extra cash for organic produce.

It's one of those topics where reasonable people can disagree, and whether or not someone should or shouldn't go organic is something best left to the individual consumer.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

That said, there's some disturbing news coming from produce-land, and it's nothing to do with GMOs or processed foods. It has to do with mislabeling — possibly intentionally.

According to the New York Daily News, NY-area Whole Foods might have been ripping you off — more than you even knew.

People jokingly call Whole Foods "Whole Paycheck" for its perceived priceyness, but according to reporting from the Daily News, their local chains have been overcharging customers for at least the past five years, usually by mislabeling the weight of products.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Examples of violations included chicken tenders that were overpriced by $4.85, coconut shrimp that was $14.84 over its actual cost, and a vegetable platter that came in at $6.15 too expensive — all because the item weight didn't match up.

As most shoppers don't bring their own scale to the store (and probably aren't able to guess weight down to the nearest tenth of a pound), this isn't even one of those situations where it's fair to suggest "buyer beware."

But let's talk about a bigger issue: Lower-income Americans are having a harder time putting food on the table.

According to a report from the USDA, households in the bottom 20% of income earners were spending on average 36% of their income on food.

And just as frightening, the cost of food is rising faster than the rest of the economy. That is, over the past five years, the cost of food has risen by more than 10%, outpacing the average change of a little more than 8%.

It's not just food, either. The price of college, child care, and vehicle maintenance have climbed steadily over the past decade relative to other items while things like toys and electronics have gotten more affordable. In other words, the things we need to survive ("the basics") are getting less affordable, and without these, it's a huge challenge to pull oneself out of poverty.

We mat not have the power to single-handedly change the economy, but there are things we can do to help the hungry.

1. Fight for a higher minimum wage.

If prices are on the rise, at the very least wages need to rise as well. If the bottom 20% of earners can make just a bit more, they won't be as squeezed when it comes to deciding whether or not they can afford to eat healthy (and in the long run, avoid some potential medical bills) or not.

2. End food deserts.

Food deserts are low-income communities with low access to grocery stores. By opening affordable, healthy, community-run grocery options, food deserts can be fought, making for healthier and more financially sound residents.

3. Spread the word.

Possibly the most important thing any of us can do is to help spread the word about the food-related challenges facing low-income Americans. Sometimes their stories get lost in discussions about politics, and we hear about increasing restrictions on how SNAP (food stamps) funds can be spent. It's important to remember that the people in need of SNAP assistance are actual people and far more than pawns in some political game.

Because while Whole Foods is overcharging customers on shrimp (and YES, they could just go to Trader Joe's or somewhere cheaper), it's important to remember that this is indicative of a larger problem. Healthy food and fresh produce and the option to go organic or not should be one that all people have access to regardless of income.


    10 anti-holiday recipes that prove the season can be tasty and healthy

    Balance out heavy holiday eating with some lighter—but still delicious—fare.


    Lighten your calorie load with some delicious, nutritious food between big holiday meals.


    The holiday season has arrived with its cozy vibe, joyous celebrations and inevitable indulgences. From Thanksgiving feasts to Christmas cookie exchanges to Aunt Eva’s irresistible jelly donuts—not to mention leftover Halloween candy still lingering—fall and winter can feel like a non-stop gorge fest.

    Total resistance is fairly futile—let’s be real—so it’s helpful to arm yourself with ways to mitigate the effects of eating-all-the-things around the holidays. Serving smaller amounts of rich, celebratory foods and focusing on slowly savoring the taste is one way. Another is to counteract those holiday calorie-bomb meals with some lighter fare in between.

    Contrary to popular belief, eating “light” doesn’t have to be tasteless, boring or unsatisfying. And contrary to common practice, meals don’t have to fill an entire plate—especially when we’re trying to balance out heavy holiday eating.

    It is possible to enjoy the bounties of the season while maintaining a healthy balance. Whether you prefer to eat low-carb or plant-based or gluten-free or everything under the sun, we’ve got you covered with these 10 easy, low-calorie meals from across the dietary spectrum.

    Each of these recipes has less than 600 calories (most a lot less) per serving and can be made in less than 30 minutes. And Albertsons has made it easy to find O Organics® ingredients you can put right in your shopping cart to make prepping these meals even simpler.


    eggs and green veggies in a skillet, plate of baconNot quite green eggs and ham, but closeAlbertsons

    Breakfast Skillet of Greens, Eggs & Ham

    273 calories | 20 minutes


    1 (5 oz) pkg baby spinach

    2 eggs

    1 clove garlic

    4 slices prosciutto

    1/2 medium yellow onion

    1 medium zucchini squash

    1/8 cup butter, unsalted

    1 pinch crushed red pepper

    Find full instructions and shopping list here.

    bow of cauliflower ham saladGet your cauliflower power on.Albertsons

    Creamy Cauliflower Salad with Ham, Celery & Dill

    345 calories | 20 minutes

    1/2 medium head cauliflower

    1 stick celery

    1/4 small bunch fresh dill

    8 oz. ham steak, boneless

    1/2 shallot

    1/4 tspblack pepper

    1/4 tsp curry powder

    2 tsp Dijon mustard

    1/4 tsp garlic powder

    3 Tbsp mayonnaise

    1/8 tsp paprika

    2 tsp red wine vinegar

    1/2 tsp salt

    Find full instructions and shopping list here.

    tofu on skewers on a plate with coleslawPlant-based food fan? This combo looks yums. Albertsons

    Grilled Chili Tofu Skewers with Ranch Cabbage, Apple & Cucumber Slaw

    568 calories | 20 minutes

    1 avocado

    1/2 English cucumber

    1 (12 oz.) package extra firm tofu

    1 Granny Smith apple

    3 Tbsp (45 ml) Ranch dressing

    1/2 (14 oz bag) shredded cabbage (coleslaw mix)

    2 tsp chili powder

    1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

    1/2 tsp garlic powder

    1/2 tsp salt

    Find full instructions and shopping list here.

    frittata in a cast iron skilletSometimes you just gotta frittata.Albertsons

    Bell Pepper, Olive & Sun-Dried Tomato Frittata with Parmesan

    513 calories | 25 minutes

    6 eggs

    1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted

    2 oz Parmesan cheese

    1 red bell pepper

    1/2 medium red onion

    8 sundried tomatoes, oil-packed

    1/4 tsp black pepper

    1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

    1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

    1/4 tsp salt

    Find full instructions and shopping list here.

    plate with slices of grilled chicken and a caprese saladCaprese, if you please.Albertsons

    Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Classic Caprese Salad

    509 calories | 25 minutes

    3/4 lb chicken breasts, boneless skinless

    1/2 small pkg fresh basil

    1/2 (8 oz pkg) fresh mozzarella cheese

    1 clove garlic

    3 tomatoes

    1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

    4 3/4 pinches black pepper

    1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

    3/4 tsp salt

    Find full instructions and shopping list here.

    four stuffed mushrooms on a plateThese mushrooms look positively poppable.Albertsons

    Warm Goat Cheese, Parmesan & Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed Mushrooms

    187 calories | 35 minutes

    1/2 lb cremini mushrooms

    1 clove garlic

    1/2 (4 oz) log goat cheese

    1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

    2 sundried tomatoes, oil-packed

    1 1/4 pinches crushed red pepper

    1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

    1/4 tsp Italian seasoning

    2 pinches salt

    Find full instructions and shopping list here.

    plate with open English muffin with goat cheese and sliced baby tomatoes on topMove over, avocado toast. English muffin pizzas have arrived.Albertsons

    English Muffin Pizzas with Basil Pesto, Goat Cheese & Tomatoes

    327 calories | 10 minutes

    3 Tbsp (45 ml) basil pesto

    2 English muffins

    1/2 (4 oz) log goat cheese

    1/2 pint grape tomatoes

    3/4 pinch black pepper

    2 pinches salt

    Find full instructions and shopping list here.

    pita pocket on a plate filled with veggies, meat and cheeseThis pita pocket packs a colorful punch.Albertsons

    Warm Pita Pocket with Turkey, Cheddar, Roasted Red Peppers & Parsley

    313 calories | 20 minutes

    1/4 (8 oz) block cheddar cheese

    1/2 bunch Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

    4 oz oven roasted turkey breast, sliced

    1/2 (12 oz) jar roasted red bell peppers

    1 whole grain pita

    3/4 pinch black pepper

    1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

    2 tsp mayonnaise

    Find full instructions and shopping list here.

    plate with toast smeared with avocado and topped with prosciuttoDid we say, "Move over, avocado toast?" What we meant was "Throw some prosciutto on it!" Albertsons

    Avocado Toast with Crispy Prosciutto

    283 calories | 10 minutes

    1 avocado

    2 slices prosciutto

    2 slices whole grain bread

    1 5/8 tsp black pepper

    1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

    1/8 tsp garlic powder

    1/8 tsp onion powder

    Find full instructions and shopping list here.

    bowl of chili with cheese and green onions on topVegetarian chili with a fall twistAlbertsons

    Black Bean & Pumpkin Chili with Cheddar

    444 calories | 30 minutes

    2 (15 oz can) black beans

    1/2 (8 oz ) block cheddar cheese

    2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes

    2 cloves garlic

    2 green bell peppers

    1 small bunch green onions (scallions)

    1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin purée

    1 medium yellow onion

    1/2 tsp black pepper

    5 7/8 tsp chili powder

    1/2 tsp cinnamon

    2 tsp cumin, ground

    1 tsp salt

    1 Tbsp virgin coconut oil

    Find full instructions and shopping list here.

    For more delicious and nutritious recipes, visit albertsons.com/recipes.

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