I'm another person who finds the numbers very high, BUT I live in a place where the cost of living is very low and we have less expensive groceries than most areas of the U.S. Our composit cost of living is 87.4% (one of the lowest in Kansas), while the national average is 100. Examples of cost of groceries in other cities - ours is 88%:
Reno, NV - 109.6
Plano, TX - 100.4
Fresno, CA -116.3
Hastings, NE - 102.4
The average for cities in the use for groceries is - 109.3.
So far this year I've spent $803.10 out of $1,000 ($50/week - 2 adults) from the grocery budget. I also focus on purchasing whole foods, while highly-processed foods tend to drive the food dollars up. Just consider how much money I save by not buying breakfast cereals, and making them from whole grains which only cost pennies compared to highly-processed, highly-advertised, commercial cereals.
I also use a (powdered) whey-based milk substitute that is much less per gallon than store-bought powdered or liquid milk.
I'm also a stickler for serving sizes, so you won't see someone drinking a 16-ounce ice tea tumbler filled with orange juice - a serving is 3/4-cup.
I've used the "Tips for Healthy, Thrifty Meals" link in the original post as a class. I've also taught a class at the local Food Bank using recipes that can be made with USDA commodity foods. And even those recipes need altered occasionally because some use a lot of ingredients not everyone has or commonly uses. I find if you get much past 5-6 ingredients, people won't make the recipe.
Easy Recipes Using Common Commodity Foods
PplAmanda - you'd be surprised by how many people come to the Food Bank and don't have any idea about how to use dried beans or rice, and if they find them in their bags of food they'll give them back. Many others who need food don't always have much more than a hot plate or a microwave for cooking. Most lack pots and pans, so food preparation has to be VERY simple and not use a lot of high-costing energy (gas or electricity). At the Food Bank I've provided them with a grain mill so they can mill pinto beans into pinto bean flour so people can make "Instant" Refried Beans (which take 7-8 minutes to cook using water and bean flour). This is an easy method that doesn't take a lengthy cooking session on a hot stove. I also teach how to cook beans/rice/oatmeal, etc. in a Thermos as another energy-saving method.