Plants produce fruits so that they have a way to protect the seeds and distribute the seeds on a wide-scale basis. A plant's fruit is actually its ovary. After fertilization occurs, the ovary increases in size and becomes hard or fleshy to provide the seeds with protection as they develop.
Animals that consume fruit help the plant spread its seeds. While the fruit is digested, the seed is not digested and passes through the animal's digestive tract intact when the animal defecates. Other animals bury seeds to save them but do not always get to return to them. These seeds can then sprout and become a plant.
The seed's coat works in conjunction with fruit to keep the plant's embryo safe. It allows the developing plant embryo to survive being eaten or moved. Seeds may be transported via the wind or the water thanks to the protection of its coat.
Seed dispersal is important for plants because it preserves the species. The seeds that remain near the parent species are at a high risk of being eaten by predators that have learned to look near plants for seeds. If unfavorable conditions plague the parent plant, the seeds will suffer as well. Seed transportation increases the likelihood that a plant finds a favorable habitat. When the seeds grow away from the parent plant, they do not have to compete with the parent plant for nutrients. Less competition increases the chance of survival.