For Nature Choice this product represents 20% of its total production. The company has decided to work with specialities in order to differentiate itself.
As opposed to tomatoes, peppers are a crop with less diversity of typologies. The ‘king’ continues to be the California, and behind this there are others such as the Sweet Bite and the Palermo that cover, along with the spicy peppers, most of the specialities niche (the Corno types, for example, are much less popular). At Nature Choice, they are opting for the stability that growing the first three varieties brings, although they continue to try out the new varieties that appear in order to not lose sight of potential products. As the manager, Antonio Jesús Romero reminds us, “peppers provide stability for farmers and although it is an expensive crop, due to the price of the seeds and the time between sowing and harvesting, it lasts on the plant and allows the dates to be handled.” This aspect has been a fundamental point during the last 4 or 5 campaigns. “We are experiencing a good period for peppers in terms of profitability.”
In 2017/18, the company from Almeria plans to market 42.5 million kgs amongst all the references it produces (cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes), and 9.5 million will be of peppers: 8 million of California, 900,000 kilos of Sweet Palermo and 500,000 of Sweet Bite. This product is the second in volume, after cucumbers, and they are ‘cosseting’ it with continuous investments in machinery (over the past 3 years they have renewed the equipment) and through differentiating packaging and containers, particularly in the case of specialities. “The bags are the most popular for snack peppers. The biggest selling format is the 250 grams. And the demand is rising for 300g buckets and glasses containing 150g.” The commercial trend is following the line of smaller selling formats. “The competition in store is a reality and the goal for many continues to be the price. Therefore, they tend to balance this with a decrease in size.” Another trend involves the mixing of colours, not only in Sweet Bite. “We have already started selling red and yellow Sweet Palermo. We are sure that yellow peppers will take off; it is just a matter of time.”