The Science of Color in Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables come in a wide array of colors that change throughout their ripening process, with the brightest colors often occurring when the fruit is optimally ripened.  “Eat the rainbow” is a fundamental healthy eating tip. Foods that are strong and bright in color are normally healthy for us. Fruits and Vegetables, most of us should be eating more.

Why do fruits change color and flavor when they ripen?

While there are many different types of fruits, speaking generally, many fruits start out some shade of green thanks to an abundance of chlorophyll, which, with the help of the sun and nutrients from the soil, is used to produce much of the contents of the fruit, at this stage mainly starch.  At a certain point in the fruit’s development, usually when the seed is nearly fully matured, the ripening process begins, in many fruits triggered by the naturally produced hydrocarbon gas ethylene.

While the enticing innards are being sweetened and made easier to access, the chlorophyll is broken down via hydrolytic enzymes, ultimately removing the green color.  As this is happening some pigments are getting synthesized while others that were there all along, but masked by chlorophyll, are revealed. The two primary culprits producing the colors here are carotenoids, which are generally responsible for the orange and yellow colors in fruits, and anthocyanins, which are usually responsible for the purples, reds, and blues. 

Of course, there may be other reasons why fruits have different colors, and one theory holds that blue, brown and black fruits may have evolved their dark colors as this “absorbs more radiation . . . thereby raising fruit temperatures [and] increasing metabolic and developmental rates.

What do the different colors mean to us?


Green vegetables provide good levels of vitamin K and potassium, and they are known to be good for the liver. They also contain anti-cancer compounds.

Blue/Dark Blue/Purple

These dark color fruits such as pomegranates and blackberries are well known for their high levels of Anthocyanins, which are antioxidants.


Most red fruit and vegetables are known for their antioxidant and cancer preventative properties. They’re high in vitamin C. They are also believed to help prevent heart problems and heart attacks. Examples, cranberries, tomatoes, and red grapes.


High in vitamin C & A, which is good for the skin, helping and preventing skin problems, including anti-aging properties. Vitamin C is also good for the immune system, helping to prevent certain diseases. Oranges and peppers have high levels of vitamin C. carrots, apricots, and melons have high levels of Vitamin A.

Food Palette from Ocean Treasure

Ocean Treasure is a French company operating in China for 15 years. We provide a wide range of frozen vegetables & fruit all over the world. Qualified by BRC, ASC, MSC, Ocean Treasure is committed to satisfying the needs of international business.

Benefiting from resources of China, Ocean Treasure has been in fruit and vegetable for several years. We have a complete supply chain and quality management in this field in a high caliber.

Ocean Treasure provides various availability whole year-round including vegetable mix, mushroom mix, spinach, asparagus, cauliflower, garlic, peach and strawberry etc. Mix containers are possible as well.

Stay tuned with Ocean Treasure for more products and news:

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