It's common to hear people complain that things used to be better in the good old days, but in the case of apples, that might actually be true. Scientists in Japan have detected a long-term trend of deteriorating taste and texture in local apples, which they have associated with a rising average temperature in the areas where the fruit is being grown.
Studying the Fuji and Tsugaru cultivars, Japan's two favorite varieties, the researchers observed lower acid concentration, firmness, and resistance to disease relative to the 1970s. The acid is what gives apples their signature sharp taste, so its reduction might actually be preferable for those with a sweet tooth, but the loss of firmness and increased vulnerability to watercore disorder are undeniably detrimental changes.
Sweeter, softer apples... aren't those called peaches?During the period studied, 1970 to 2010, average air temperatures in the cultivating regions increased by a third of a degree Celsius each decade, which resulted in the apples sprouting and blossoming earlier. The warmer air is also presented as a causative factor for these changes in the apples over time, though the researchers themselves warn that there's a multiplicity of factors that affect the final composition of a fully matured fruit.