Happy raspberries, disappointed carrots and furious parsnips may not be the stuff of fairy tales, top food scientists have shown.

Researchers were observing the effect of peeling potatoes on levels of starch in fried wedges, and found that those waiting to be peeled showed marked changes in their Galvanic Skin Response (GSR), which detects emotional arousal by measuring the electrical resistance of the skin.

‘The potatoes waiting to be peeled seemed edgy,’ said lead researcher Dr. Eileen Ratt.

‘We carried out further tests and found GSR meter readings associated with fear in the non-peeled potatoes and high levels of embarrassment across the peeled batch.’

The team then broadened their research to incorporate a wide range of popular vegetables and all were found to display varying emotions, with the exception of turnips.

‘Vegetables seem to have sentience, but no complex thought processes, so a pumpkin can feel terror when you cut a face into it for Halloween, but wouldn’t necessarily know why and wouldn’t be able to express it. A bit like a vegetable version of locked-in syndrome,’ said Dr Ratt.

The news will come as a terrible blow to vegans and vegetarians, many of whom do not consume food that may have caused suffering or death, and vegetable rights groups are already calling for a review of how we grow and process the touchy plants.

A spokeshuman from Vegan Vaginas said, ‘It’s going to be difficult to justify eating vegetables and still be better than everyone else.’