Why Groceries Are Supposedly Worse In The Pandemic, According To Reddit

Nothing is worse than biting into a soft, mealy apple or cutting into a seemingly normal-looking onion only to find that its interior is brown and slimy. If you feel like you've been experiencing this more and more lately, you're not alone. A Reddit user posed the question, "Am I going crazy, or has the quality of groceries gone way down even post pandemic?" Users from Washington, Virginia, Florida, and New York, among other states, were all commenting on the decline in quality. Many other users were quick to chime in that they, too, noticed a decline in their groceries.

Some users suggested that because of supply chain issues affecting farms' ability to produce their pre-pandemic quantities and distributors' rising operation costs from gas price hikes and labor shortages you should expect grocery shortages in 2022. Some grocery stores may be forced to accept more of the below-standard produce than ever before just to ensure any stock at all. One user wrote, "I think stores are also having to be less discerning than they previously were. Produce that's "on the bubble" is going on the shelves today where it didn't pre-supply chain issues."

Supply chain disruptions and weather conditions may affect produce

It is possible that quality in your grocery store produce department isn't necessarily worse, but there is a lower amount of fruits and vegetables in stock. Hence, shoppers are more likely to accidentally grab a less than desirable item because the pool of available choices is just smaller. Some farmers and producers just can't keep up with demand; as a paper published in Food Quality and Safety points out, grocery shelves are being drained more quickly as people favor healthier diets to help maintain their immune systems. This causes demand for "functional foods which contain bioactive ingredients" to skyrocket, leaving only the below-par choices left.

Additionally, as NPR reports, weather issues like storms are drastically slowing food shipping. This can mean that food is spending much longer in transit than usual, meaning it's closer to its spoilage date by the time it gets to your local grocery store. One Reddit commenter weighed in on this, saying, "Supply chain issues across the entire world of commerce and trade means produce waits longer in storage before being delivered to a store. So the same produce you're seeing now has sat for days to weeks longer than what you saw previously."