How Humidity Affects Fruits and Vegetables

If you keep up with our blog here at, you’re probably well aware of the impact low humidity has on your health and comfort level. Exposure to exceptionally dry air over long periods of time can trigger allergic reactions, cause nose bleeds, and even increase your chance of getting sick – not to mention the fact that dry air is uncomfortable. But how exactly does humidity affect product such as fruits and vegetables?

If you operate a grocery store, supermarket, convenience store, or any other business that deals directly with fresh produce, you should pay close attention to the humidity in which it is stored. Relative humidity – the maximum percentage of water vapor air can hold at its current temperature – can either help or hurt produce. Business owners who fail to monitor the relative humidity levels in their store will suffer the consequences of reduced shelf life with their produce.

Relative humidity affects fruits and vegetables in numerous ways. To better understand this phenomenon, you must first look at the way in which humidity works. When there’s a high concentration of water vapor in the air, objects in the surrounding environment become saturated with moisture. On the other hand, environments with low humidity will sap the moisture from surrounding objects. This phenomenon is nature’s own way of balancing the environment.

Now, if fruits and vegetables are stored in an environment with low humidity, they may begin to wilt sooner than expected. As previously stated, objects – including produce – will dry out when exposed to low humidity. The air causes the moisture content in fruits and vegetables to evaporate, resulting in wilting. And when this occurs, the produce is typically ruined and must be trashed.

A good rule of thumb is to keep leafy greens, such as spinach, romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce, celery, etc., in humid environments, whereas produce that tends to rot easily should be stored in low-humid environments. This is the same concept behind those “crisper” drawers found in most refrigerators. These drawers have separate climate control systems, allowing consumers to set different humidity levels based on the contents stored inside.

So, how can you product your store’s produce from the damaging effects of fluctuating humidity? A commercial-grade humidifier will keep tabs on your store’s humidity, releasing moisture vapor back into the air when needed. If you don’t already have one, invest in a humidifier to protect your produce and your investment.

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