What lies ahead for summer bell peppers?

Industry-wide, a lot remains up in the air as the summer bell pepper season approaches. So says Kevin Batt, category director of greenhouse for Oppy.  

“Only time will tell what’s going to happen in California given the recent weather challenges there,” says Batt.

Currently, the bulk of pepper volume is out of Mexico, while Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta, Canada, are beginning to roll out. In addition, Florida also has pepper production.

Timing Mexico and Canada
However, Mexico has also had some weather issues, including cool temperatures, which could mean production ends a tad early this year. Right now, the overall availability of bell peppers is about the same. “You get a bit of a collision as Mexico ends and Canada starts, and the timing of that tends to shift every year,” says Batt. “Canada can start earlier, and Mexico can go a bit longer. There are no more crystal balls in produce, and the landscape seems especially dynamic these days.”

Batt anticipates that demand will tick up in the coming weeks when retailers move into summer pricing mode. “As the weather gets nicer, people start changing their eating habits, and certain produce sectors gain more traction. I expect the pepper deal will see some lift in the next month,” says Batt.

Two-tiered pricing
As for pricing, while there was strong pricing over the winter, it will likely move into tiered pricing in the coming weeks. “New crop out of Canada should see stronger pricing, and then Mexico tends to get built up on inventory and then drops pricing a bit, which is what we’ve seen historically,” he says. “The ebb and flow of volume out of the high-tech greenhouses in Canada tend to be pretty stable. A lot of it will depend on the field deal and how that impacts the greenhouse sector. Last year field challenges led to strong movement on greenhouse peppers.”  

What Oppy is certain of is, of course, its own production, and it has expanded its volume of peppers and will, in turn, have more availability this summer. “Our growers installed a misting system that’s going to ensure the temperature within the greenhouse is maintained at a more desirable temperature and allows for more humidity within the greenhouse. Therefore we should see better quality and better sizing throughout the year,” says Batt.

For more information:
Kelsey Van Lissum
Tel.: +1 (604) 461-6779

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