Cooler weather in Mexico has slowed down the production of colored bell peppers. “We’re just about to turn the corner in Sinaloa,” says JC Myers, vice president of sales and marketing for SunFed Produce. “We’ve been two to three weeks behind our expected real production peak. We’ve been hitting maybe 50-60 percent of our estimated production.”
The team from SunFed Produce.
He notes that agronomists and growers are happy with the health of the plants, particularly given the cold weather is keeping down the pest, bacterial and viral pressure. “We’re just waiting on size and color. You need yellow, orange, and red peppers to get their green caps out and get to about 90 percent color before you can cut, and that’s been really challenging for our growers,” Myers says.
The concern with later Mexican production is overlapping with Canadian greenhouse production of colored bells. Production out of Mexico is expected to increase at the beginning of March and thus enter the promotional period, particularly for its key distribution areas, which include the Southwest and Texas and some of the West coast.
Strong demand, high pricing
As for demand, it has exceeded supply, particularly since growers throughout the region are all behind, thanks to the weather. “At this time of year, the market on an 11 lb. box of large and extra large is typically $8.95 to $12.95. Right now, reds are in the $12-$14 range, and yellow and orange are $16-$18.95 range, so significantly higher,” says Myers. Pricing will likely soften somewhat once a greater supply of colored bell peppers is available.
Production out of Mexico is expected to increase at the beginning of March and thus enter the promotional period.
For SunFed Produce, its production stays year-round in Mexico, though it’s anticipated to shift to the Central region in late April to May. That region has seen more temperate weather though the supply in there is more targeted. “There’s not a lot of production that’s speculative at that time as we get into the summer months and going up against Canadian production,” adds Myers.
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