Demand for hot peppers is very strong at the moment and supplies are relatively steady. The Mexican regions where the hot peppers are grown managed to avoid significant damage from recent hurricanes and other tropical weather. Fortunately, the area is now entering a period of more stable, although cooler, weather and therefore hot pepper supply is expected to be good, in time to meet the healthy demand.
"Hot peppers out of Sonora and Bahia supply the market almost year-round," noted Jesse Rodriguez of Alamo Produce in California. "Supply tends to be variable and can depend on demand, which at the moment, is very good. The market is also good as we come into the time of year when hot peppers are in strong demand. Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays typically see more demand."
Hot and mini sweet peppers growing as a category
Both hot peppers of various varieties as well as mini sweet bell peppers are two categories which are experiencing strong growth in the US. Suppliers say that consumers are becoming more creative with their Thanksgiving dishes and are incorporating more of these peppers into meals. Additionally, a changing demographic is providing a natural pull for peppers.
"We mainly carry the more common hot pepper varieties like Jalapeno, Serrano and Habanero, as well as a lot of bell peppers," Rodriguez shared. "We are seeing strong growth in the category, especially for mini sweet bell peppers. Restaurants are using them more which is helping to introduce them to a greater number of consumers. Another reason for the growth in the US is the increasing number of Latin people who are already accustomed to the various pepper varieties."
Rodriguez added that it's important for companies to provide consumers with what they want, even if it means changing or adjusting what is on offer. "You have to move with the trends," he said. "Customers are looking for more hot and mini peppers and we've seen growers increasing acreage of these to take advantage of the momentum."
1lb packages for mini peppers popular
Alamo Produce is a produce importer and distributor, so much of what they do is concentrated on bulk orders that are shipped to clients. They did note that the smaller packages for mini bell peppers are popular among retailers.
"For the mini bell peppers, the 1lb pouch bags are proving popular for supermarkets," Rodriguez said. "For our bulk orders we do the 25lb boxes - which are pretty standard in the US. These are for red, orange and yellow bell peppers. The hot peppers are transported in plastic boxes, many of which are sent by the client to be packed in various formats of their choosing."
He added, "At Alamo Produce, we focus on the core hot pepper varieties that most customers want and therefore make sure they are the highest quality and that supply is reliable."