What differentiates fruits from vegetables?

Paola E. Haiat
December 21, 2023

There have been many myths around ‘what’ exactly differentiates fruits from vegetables. Arguments range from believing that fruits are the sweet ones and vegetables merely accompany 'meal time', to vegetables being ‘all green’ and fruits associated with dessert time.

However, what really differentiates fruits from vegetables is an anatomical issue. Both come from plants, however, while fruits are the 'ovaries' that contain the seeds, vegetables make up other parts of the plant. For example, asparagus are the stem, lettuces are the leaves and carrots are the roots.  

Some are larger, some are smaller, and some have different colors. Do the colors mean anything? FAO tells us yes:

- Purple/blue: antioxidant properties that may reduce the risks of cancer, strokeand heart disease.

- Red: helps lower cancer risk and improves cardiovascular health.

-Orange/yellow: contains carotenoids that support eye health.

-Brown/white: phytochemicals with antiviral and antibacterial properties andpotassium.

- Green: phytochemicals with anti-cancer properties.

This year the FAO declared 2021 the 'International Year of Fruits and Vegetables' reminding us of the benefits of consuming them for growth and development in children, better mental health, cardiovascular health and improved immunity.

Which countries in Europe produce the most fruit?

According to the latest detailed data from Eurostat (remains nearly unchanged in 2021),one in four apples can be grown in Poland (25%), followed by Italy (19.2%) and France (15.5%). With very similar proportions, Spain (34.4%) and Italy (32.9%) lead the peach market. Spain also leads the strawberry production with 29%. As for cherries, Poland (25.8%) tops the list followed by Italy (12.6%) and Spain (10.7%).

top EU producers for fruit

Which countries in Europe produce the most vegetables?

Spain (27.4%) and Italy (36.3%) supply almost half of the tomatoes consumed in the European Union. Three countries account for the half of the cucumbers produced in the European Union: Spain (29.1%), Poland (17.7%) and the Netherlands(17.1%). For carrots, the top three are led by the United Kingdom (14.2%), Poland (13.1%) and France (10.8%). For zucchini, a third of the total is produced in Spain (37.6%) and another third in Italy (37.1%).

top vegetables producers EU

Another way to visualize it is through the following graph, made a couple of years later,where we see the proportion of the total by country divided between fruits and vegetables.


top fruit and vegetables producers

Fruits and vegetables make up an important part of our diets (WHO recommends at least 400 grams of fruits and vegetables per day) and, in our case, the basis of our business.

Does your business also consist of fruits and vegetables? Consentio has something for you!

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