Supplies of green bell peppers from California have picked up as production transitions to desert regions, though volumes of red and yellow peppers remain light. If colored pepper supplies remain light, then the market for those will likely close out the year on a strong note.

“Production of bell peppers on the Central Coast and Northern California is almost finished,” said Mike Aiton of Prime Time Produce. “Quality from there is deteriorating and the markets are responding accordingly.” Production of green peppers has been transitioning to the desert, so there's more availability of those.

“For the colored and mini peppers, one area is kind of winding down, the plants have endured a lot this season and we're still waiting for new areas to start,” said Aiton. “Protected-environment peppers are coming in from Mexico, so the volume for those will increase over time. But as far as open-field peppers, there's going to be a lull in production for the next two or three weeks. There will be a good supply of green peppers as production builds up, so the market for those will be normal through the end of the year. With red, yellow and mini peppers, supplies will be tight and the market will be high.” On October 20, prices for a carton of extra-large green bell peppers from the Coachella Valley were between $18.95 and $20.95.

Popularity increasing
Aiton noted that demand for bell peppers has increased over the years and acreage in California has expanded to accommodate that. While certain kinds of items, like snacking peppers or mini pointed peppers, make solid gains with consumers, the overall category is growing.

“There are a lot of new flavors and new varieties that are driving demand,” said Aiton. “New peppers come in all different kinds of sizes and colors, but the main varieties remain big and blocky. Peppers are one of those items that you see fresh and you see them in all kinds of foods. You can't walk down a frozen-food aisle, for example, and see an item that doesn't have peppers.”

For more information:
Mike Aiton
Prime Time Produce
+1 760 399 4166