Plants subjected to abiotic stresses synthesize secondary metabolites with potential application in the functional foods, dietary supplements, pharmaceutical, cosmetics and agrochemical markets. This approach can be extended to horticultural crops. This review describes previous reports regarding the effect of different postharvest abiotic stresses on the accumulation of phenolic compounds. Likewise, the physiological basis for the biosynthesis of phenolic compounds as an abiotic stress response is described. The information presented herein would be useful for growers and the fresh produce market which are interested in finding alternative uses for their crops, especially for those not meeting quality standards and thus are considered as waste.