Why are tomatoes red? 

In this brief guide, we will discuss the question “ why tomato is red?”, its benefits, and the nutritional value of tomatoes.

Why are tomatoes red?

Tomatoes are red because of the presence of a pigment called lycopene. As tomatoes come in different colors and flavors which add value to our meal. In the coloration of tomatoes, there is a chemical reaction inside them that results in the splitting down of chlorophyll and producing different pigments like carotenoids but lycopene which is mostly responsible for this color change.  

What is lycopene?

The chemical that provides tomatoes with their distinctive red color is lycopene. Some fruits and vegetables that contain it also include carrots and watermelons. The chlorophyll in the tomato is eliminated as it ripens, and the red lycopene color takes over. The following are some of the health benefits of this substance:

  • Antioxidant powerhouse
  • Serves to protect from the sun.
  • Heart health is boosted.
  • Cancer risks can be reduced.

What is the process of tomatoes turning red?

As the temperature decreases  (in the autumn months) while harvesting time chlorophyll begins to disintegrate. As a result of this event, lycopene tends to take over, and that’s what lends tomatoes their red color.

Once all of the lycopene pigments have sloughed out, you could watch your tomato transition from green to red. Tomatoes should be mature to undergo this change; otherwise, they will remain unripe and hence unpleasant.

After that, it’s the period for ethylene, an unpleasant gas with ripening properties that allows fruits like tomatoes to be more delicious with time. As a response, the sugar levels increase at the same time, making them softer and sweeter.

Tomatoes are a high-yielding fruit. They can grow and develop in a relatively short time, but the ripening process takes simply days. This is why producers collect green tomatoes and inject additional ethylene before exporting them for purchase.

What are the factors affecting tomato red color?

Tomatoes are a nutrient-dense and delightful contribution to our meals. Tomatoes are rich in vitamins and can be eaten raw or cooked. The following are the aspects that contribute to the red color of tomatoes.

Diversity of Tomatoes

The different ways a tomato develops red color is influenced by the cultivar. In contrast to large tomato types, smaller tomato cultivars turn red hues earlier. Fruit quality has distinct types which on average, take quite a while to develop.

 For example, maturing a cherry tomato requires less time than a beefsteak tomato, which takes more time because it is a wider cultivar.


It takes a long time for a tomato to transform from green to red, and it all relies mostly on temperature. Temperatures of 50-85 degrees Fahrenheit are required to create lycopene or carotene, which aids in this process. Tomatoes will look green for a lengthy time if the temperature was between or even above this range.

What are the health benefits of tomatoes?

Tomatoes are the source of vitamins.

A tomato can supply up to 40% of the daily required vitamin C intake. Tomatoes also contain vitamin A, which is important for defense, eyesight, and healthy skin; vitamin K, which is beneficial for bones and potassium, which is necessary for cardiac function, muscular activity, and maintaining healthy blood pressure and fluid level.

It helps to maintain heart health

Tomatoes consist of lycopene, an antioxidant that gives them their bright red color. According to research, consuming tomatoes and tomato products seems to be more beneficial than taking lycopene pills in contexts of heart health advantages. Other research has linked greater blood lycopene concentrations to a reduced number of deaths in persons with metabolic syndrome, a group of health conditions that increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

It helps to improve vision

They contain beta carotene and lutein which help to protect the eyes from any kind of problems in eyesight.

It helps to boost digestive health

The tomato fluid nature helps to reduce digestive problems like constipation

It protects skin 

It helps to keep the skin intact with formation fibers and different cells.

It also has anti-cancer properties

It helps to prevent the body from different types of cancer.

Other FAQs about Tomatoes that you may be interested in.

Are blighted tomatoes safe to eat?

What is wrong with my tomato plants?

Are cracked tomatoes safe to eat?

Can I use crushed tomatoes instead of tomato sauce?


In this brief guide, we have discussed the question “ why tomato is red?”, its benefits, and the nutritional value of tomatoes.

Please comment down if you have any questions.


Why Did The Tomato Turn Red – 2 Reasons Behind (growgardener.com)

Why is tomato red? | Lycopene and its function | History and Cultivation (yourfoodplanet.com)

7 Health Benefits of Tomatoes | Health.com