Flavor – Why are certain fruit & veg bought in UK supermarkets tasteless


I have been to Italy, Greece & Turkey. Fruit & Veg in these places tastes amazing! So much flavour, really awesome!

In the UK when I buy the same fruit or veg, it is absolutely tasteless, it is just crunchy water!

Why is this? I used to think it was because there was very little Sun here. However, many of the fruit & veg in question come from Spain! A place with a lot of sunshine! Something else must be in play!

I am talking about melons & watermelons, grapes, tomatoes, cucumbers, plums, peaches, oranges and much more!

Any clarification would be greatly appreciated.

PS. Places I shop at are Tesco, Aldi, Lidl, Asda, Sainsburys.

Best Answer

Non-native and out of season fruits and vegetables that are available in northern countries (e.g. UK, Canada) need to be shipped from far away and will be picked before they are naturally ripe (under the normal sun and heat and getting nutrients from the soil).

They will ripen in controlled environments (UV lights, maybe controlled atmosphere and temperature) to be able to be ripen on time during the long transit to be ready when they are put on shelves in your local stores.

In the UK, it is currently the high season for strawberries (I assume it is the same time as in Québec); compare locally-grown strawberries to imported strawberries and compare the flavour and aromas.

(anecdotal) A quick tip when buying imported fruits (and vegetables); keep them outside of the fridge as much as possible, and if planning to eat soon, place them in the sun for a little while and the flavours will get better.