Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

You are using software which is blocking our advertisements (adblocker).

As we provide the news for free, we are relying on revenues from our banners. So please disable your adblocker and reload the page to continue using this site.

Click here for a guide on disabling your adblocker.

Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

Softer demand slows movement on bell peppers

Softer demand looks to be impacting the bell pepper market. "Markets are depressed because there's a lack of demand. Everyone says it's demand-driven because there's just no business," says Neil Mazal of East Coast Farms & Vegetables, noting that dry veg might be experiencing this more than other produce commodities. He adds that the terminal markets have very little interest in almost any of the commodities and at the retail level, there's little promotion currently.

Bell pepper growing regions are also in transition which is factoring into movement too.

Florida: South Florida is winding down while North Florida is coming in a bit later than normal for a few growers. "There are fewer growers planting which also impacts the market and availability but it doesn't seem to matter with the lack of demand," says Mazal. For example, at the beginning of the deal, red peppers were seeing a $30-$35 market–this was a time when peppers weren't coming from a lot of growing areas. Right now, red peppers are trading at $12-$14 FOB.

East Coast Farms is winding down its Florida production with plans to begin its last pick sometime early next week. "There's Choice peppers, Suntan pepper, and mixed red pepper and that's all indicative of older crop in Florida," he says.

The Florida market is also seeing green peppers–XL, large, and jumbo–at $12-$14 with a single X pepper bringing in a bit more money because that is a preferred retail size.

Georgia: Georgia is about a week to 10 days away before starting to get into any pepper production which is a little late.

Mexico: Northern Mexican growers are also winding down including those shipping out of Sonora into Nogales, Arizona, or McAllen, Texas. "The pepper market out there is, depending on size, mid to high teens with off grades trading at $10-$12.95 FOB," Mazal says.

California: "Coachella seems to be holding on to higher price points and that's being driven by a few factors," says Mazal. "There's less acreage planted–reports are that there's 20 to 25 percent less volume planted in California." He notes that labor costs are factoring into that decision. "The start to the new crop pepper deal will probably elevate it a bit while the Florida deal is looking to discount and get out of the way," he says.

The softer market is overall the result of growing regions transitioning, the lack of demand most significantly, but also less acreage and freight rates. "Truck rates are becoming a little bit more reasonable but now trucks are less willing to come to south Florida because there's less and less available here," Mazal says. "Soon Georgia will drive that because they will also have squash in good volume and cucumbers in decent volume as we get into the weekend."

However, a new month brings two new foodservice-driven holidays–Cinco de Mayo and Mother's Day–which growers and shippers are hoping to reinvigorate demand. The first of the month also brings in payments such as social security cheques and other income that may also spur shopping to help demand. "Though the more you read about the economic situation and people struggling with credit card debt and higher interest rates and elevated costs across the board, the more it seems like people are cutting back wherever they can–and in some cases, it's food," he says.

For more information:
Neil Mazal
East Coast Farms & Vegetables
Tel.: +1 (561) 561 286.0286
[email protected]