I would love to take a stroll through the grocery stores where people are going and pay $400 a month... even $600 a month! I know that where I live, food is really expensive and I have had several other people tell me that. But I still would love to compare prices in a lower COL area. It might even make me want to move! LOL
DH and I paid $600 a month on food before we had kids. That was from 1999-2005. I am sure it actually crept up over time, didn't just happen right when the kids came, but I can remember that was our "budget." Now it's more than twice that. I do know that food prices have gone UP a considerable amount, to near double on some things, and that coupled with the fact that we have two preschoolers who eat their weight in food it seems, means we have a much higher bill.
I also do buy convenience things, like frozen pizza, to have on hand, but it's not like I am buying 20 of them! So I guess it's just a matter of COL, or really COFood. I am just floored that people can get away spending so much less and I am convinced that it's as much to do with location as it is frugal spending.
I just looked and there are actually a couple of Woodman's in IL (North Aurora and somewhere else) and one in Kenosha.
People drive a couple hours to get cheap sweaters at the Gap in Gurnee Mills. It could easily be more cost effective to make a monthly Woodman's run.