Fruits are the reason for Alph, Brittany and Charlie's visit to PNF-404 – by retrieving pieces of fruit scattered around the planet, and extracting the seeds, they are able to solve the hunger problem in their home planet, Koppai.
Similarly to ship parts and treasures in the previous two games, the collection of these items is necessary in order to complete the game, and they are normally found in specific locations, commonly accompanied by some sort of challenge which must be completed to access them. Some fruits are split into parts, where all parts must be recovered before the fruit is recognized. On top of working towards the goal of kick-starting cultivation on Koppai, the fruits are directly useful to the explorers, as they need to feed on their juice every day.
In total, there are 66 fruits, belonging to 30 different types, with some of them having served as treasures in Pikmin 2, bearing the same name. There is a grand total of 98 days' worth of juice, including the three bottles the explorers keep at the start as provisions. Day 99 can be played, but the Koppaites will have no juice at the end, causing a game over. In the Ultra-Spicy difficulty in Pikmin 3 Deluxe, there are only 49 bottles worth of juice, as the amount of juice provided from each fruit is halved. Interestingly, by highlighting day 1 on the day selection menu, it'll show that at the start of that day, the explorers had 7 bottles of juice. Given that at the end of the day, there are only three bottles on the inventory, this means that when the Drake crash-landed, four of the provisions got lost.
The collection of fruits serves more than just completing the overall goal: fruit collected is juiced at the end of the day to provide rations for the explorers. Juice is stored into bottles, and a bottle is only closed and made available if it's filled to the top. For this, the leaders will even mix juices of different fruits, if need be. After everything has been juiced, the crew grabs the oldest bottle and consumes it, regardless of how many people there are to feed on it. As such, the amount of juice the player has will determine the amount of days left they can explore. If a day ends and there are no more bottles of juice, the player is taken to the game over screen, although they are allowed to retry from a previous day.
Different fruits provide different amounts of juice, with the lowest possible being half a cup, the maximum being 3, and the average being 1.4. The bottles have some Koppaite text on them. On the glass, there is the text ("FJ"), which could mean "fruit juice". On the frame, the word ("survival") can be read.
When two different juices are placed on the same bottle, the resulting juice's color will end up as a blend between the two. This is purely aesthetic and affects only the color seen on the bottle. To determine the final color, the game averages the hue and value components of both the existing and the new juice. This works fine for most cases, but can have some oddities; in the case where the player collects a Juicy Gaggle and a Zest Bomb and their juices are combined, this results in the color #00FFE5, which is a vibrant blue. Although this color blend is correct, it does not look very natural; indeed, in the real world, combining raspberry and lime juice results in a grayish brown mix.
That said, there is an exception for the first fruit of a saved game. When the player collects the first fruit, a cutscene plays showing said fruit being juiced. For unknown reasons, this cutscene affects the coloring calculations. If this fruit did not fill up a bottle, then when the player collects a second fruit, the resulting juice color will be more biased towards the first fruit collected. This can be seen easily with the aforementioned Juicy Gaggle and Zest Bomb – if the player collects one of these as their first fruit, the resulting "blue" juice will end up being greener or bluer than normal.
"Piktamin U" is a fictional vitamin that the Koppaites claim is in some fruits. Its name is a pun on "vitamin" with "Pik" at the start, and the "U" is the vitamin's name, in reference to the Wii U. Oddly, even the Golden Sunseed, which seems to be more of a treasure and less of a food, is said to have a lot of Piktamin U, in a Mission Mode tip.
Treasures as fruits
Names in other languages