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4 Worst Grocery Chains for Fresh Produce, According to Customers

Some stores just aren't meant for buying fresh fruit and veggies.

High-quality fresh produce can be hard to find. Not only do the best fruits and veggies often have a higher price point, but it can be a challenge to choose ones that are just ripe enough for your needs. In many cases, people's favorite grocery stores may not have the best produce departments, leaving them to hunt for their fruits and vegetables elsewhere. So what are the worst grocery stores for finding fresh produce?

The best way to find out is to ask the shoppers themselves. A few days ago, we posed this simple question to our readers on Facebook, and the poll got over 500 responses. There were a handful of clear winners for the worst produce spots, with places like Walmart and Aldi garnering a plethora of votes.

But even though people shared their frustrations with certain chains, some readers expressed how difficult it is to find good produce, in general, these days. One user wrote, "I noticed lately a lot of produce in a lot of stores are coming in rotten. They're sitting in the warehouse too long."

Even though finding good produce seems to be a challenge among many shoppers, let's look at the four grocery chains that are known for having some of the worst, most frustrating produce departments.

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Walmart Store Sign

Some may not necessarily consider Walmart a grocery store, but for others, this may be one of the best options for groceries because of its accessibility and affordability. However, even though the chain offers fresh produce at reasonable prices, many 0f our readers have expressed their disappointment with its quality.

In fact, Walmart was by far the most talked about grocery store in our Facebook survey, with hundreds of people revealing their disdain for this chain's produce.

One user answered our survey, writing, "Walmart, hands down. Especially if you have it delivered." Another angrily shared, "WALMART…..HANDS DOWN!!!"

When it comes to possible reasons why Walmart's produce is so awful, there isn't a clear answer. Its website says they get most of their retail products from the United States and Mexico, although this isn't specifically about their produce only.

One reader believes the problem could be in how the retailer is storing the produce. "I think part of their problem is not storing things correctly. I eat those Taylor bagged salads often, and the ones I get at Walmart often have gone bad days before the expiration date. Get the same salad at another grocery store, still fine a week after expiration."

But the real kicker comes from a reader who says they used to run the Walmart produce department. They write: "I ran the produce department at Walmart for years. Walmart has the worst, hands down. The stuff I used to get would come off the truck with mold on it. Ridiculous."


Ken Wolter / Shutterstock

Second only to Walmart, Aldi was also brought up many times in our Facebook survey. It seems that most people agree that Aldi itself is an amazing chain for affordable groceries, except for their fresh produce section.

"Aldis by me, if you don't use the produce the same day it goes bad. I have bought Strawberries and they are moldy the next day, Bananas that turn brown very quickly. It's a waste of money for me to buy produce there. Everything else is great just not produce," one person wrote.

Another wrote: "The lettuce rots in 2 days and cucumbers already look rotten at the store. I returned a bag of mandies cause they had mold on some of them. I love some Aldi so it sucks cause they are so affordable."

Some customer stories are a bit scarier than produce that goes bad after a few days. One customer shared quite a horror story in an Aldi Reddit thread.

"I agree the produce is VERY hit or miss. One time I bought some mushrooms and brought them home and flies burst out of the package the same night I bought it. I always smell every bag of potatoes because it is common that there is one rotten potato in the bag. If you smell anything but dirt, put it back."

Despite all of this, there were some Aldi defenders in our Facebook survey, too. One user wrote, "I love my Aldi produce, always fresh."


Costco warehouse

Interestingly enough, only a few Facebook users mentioned Costco when we asked for the worst grocery chain for produce. One person said, "Costco! all my fruit rots in 2 days." However, Reddit users had much more to say about Costco's produce offerings.

One person left a post on Reddit titled, "So sick of Costco's Produce," where they wrote about their frustrations with only being able to find "brown lettuce" and "squishy tomatoes."

"Costco's Produce overall is crap…I've been so disappointed at the increasing prices and the lower quality I'm actually thinking of cancelling my membership, not that they would care, the people at my Costco are horrible at customer service, don't dare ask a question, you're only bothering them!"

Many other Reddit users agreed. "I stopped buying produce at Costco years ago," wrote one, and another added, "Where I live my local Costco has the worst produce. It's just sat way too long and it ends up spoiling within 1-2 days of purchase which is way faster than what my family can consume. Stopped purchasing it a long time ago which sucks because it's way less expensive than my local grocery stores."

However, not all Costco shoppers agreed, with some even saying they love shopping at Costco for produce.

"I love Costco's produce. Never had an issue in the two Colorado spots I frequent," said one shopper, while another user wrote, "Salads are beautiful at my local Costco."

Costco Shoppers Are Reporting Major Issues With the Store's Produce—Again

Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's exterior
Jeff Bukowski / Shutterstock

Similarly to Costco, few of our readers brought up Trader Joe's in our survey of worst grocery store produce, but it doesn't mean there aren't people frustrated with its quality.

One person wrote, "I love Trader Joe's – just not for produce." In a Trader Joe's Reddit thread, a shopper published a recent post titled, "TJ Produce Going Downhill," where they said, "Everything I buy is bruised, wilted, and goes bad in 2-3 days. I haven't seen green onions in MONTHS and the avocados are either so hard you could break something with it or overly ripe, there is no in-between."

Most shoppers seemed to agree, with one writing, "TJs produce has always been bad. I completely skip that section of the store." Another added, "TJ's is meant for frozen and groceries, go elsewhere for produce."

Samantha Boesch
Samantha was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about Samantha