Mzab hot chili peppers, a Moroccan company producing and exporting habanero, will enter the international market in the summer of 2023. This announcement was made by Mr. Saleh Halfi, CEO of the company: "We went from 5 tons last year to 50 tons expected this season. We sent our samples all over Europe and have already received orders for almost half of our production", assures Mr. Saleh.
This success of the Moroccan habanero is explained by different factors, according to Mr. Saleh: "There is a worldwide hype for chili and hot sauces, and everybody contributes to it, food industries, chili lovers, food makers, influencers, etc. the Moroccan habanero can make a place for itself in this industry thanks to the excellence of the Moroccan habanero."
According to the producer, the Moroccan habanero has nothing to envy if compared to that of Mexico, for example. He explains: "The tastes of the Moroccan habanero are particular. I produce five varieties of habanero and other chili peppers, the red, orange, yellow, chocolate, and ghost pepper, in addition to a limited quantity of Dragon's breath. Each variety has a particular and authentic taste. On the Scoville scale, the peppers I produce range from 350 thousand to 2.5 million. Aesthetically, the fruits are beautiful and have bright colors, which is good for supermarkets, even if the spiciest ones are less presentable and are anyway coveted by amateurs who care more about taste than aesthetics. As for the sizes, it goes from half an inch to 10 cm".
The most relevant argument for choosing the Moroccan habanero, according to Mr. Saleh, is the proximity of Morocco to Europe compared to Mexico. He explains: "It is quite rational to choose a closer origin when the quality is competitive, especially since the product is perishable." The grower is mainly targeting the European market and has already received orders from the UK, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, and Spain.
The habanero industry in Morocco is mainly operated by foreign companies, French or Spanish, which produce in greenhouses. Mzab hot chili peppers want to distinguish itself from this competition: "We produce in open ground, in order to respect the seasonality of the produce. We respect the soil and use organic farming processes and techniques to give a unique culture to our product. Eventually, Saleh aims to develop a Moroccan hot sauce finer than those present on the market and more affordable.