Photos courtesy Scott Schuette
Green bell peppers remain best sellers for a number of grocery retailers even as red, orange and yellow bells bring more color to the category.
“All of them do a fantastic job,” said Dave Rhodes, director of produce and floral operations at Indianapolis-based Fresh Encounter. “That whole category I think has exploded and continues to do very well.
“The green bell peppers of course are the No. 1 item in the category, and the red peppers are right behind it, followed by the yellow and orange, so you always see us have a stronger presence on the greens and the reds, and then we’ll split the presence with the yellows and the oranges out there,” Rhodes said.
Scott Schuette, vice president of produce for Downers Grove, Ill.-based Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, also mentioned green bell peppers as the kings of the category.
“The green bell peppers represent that value proposition for many customers, especially due to a regular promotional cadence of 2 for $1 price points,” Schuette said. “All four bell peppers need to live together for increased multiple purchases coming from each of the different colors.
“Space allocation is not created equally for each of the four bell peppers,” Schuette said. “Green bell peppers need some expanded space, mostly due to promotions. Red bell peppers also need some expanded space.”
Jeff Cady, director of produce and floral for Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops Friendly Markets, also reported green bell peppers as his best seller in that category.
“The allocation in stores is double or triple the size of the colored bells,” Cady said. “We have seen growth on colors versus the greens — but primarily in a packaged format. We use the bulk color bells to color break the greens as it paints quite the picture for our customers.”
Reds have a slight upper hand, however, at Commerce, Calif.-based 99 Cents Only.
“We line price all peppers, red being our best seller, green a close second,” said director of produce Caitlin Tierney.
Rhodes noted bell peppers are also available sliced on veg trays with other items for snacking and dipping; diced to add to omelets; or sliced to include in stir fry mixes or fajitas.
Schuette also described peppers as a featured ingredient in a number of value-added products.
“Fajita mix, veggie kabobs, diced bell peppers, stir fry mix and three-pack bell peppers make up the majority of our value-added offerings that include bell peppers as ingredients,” Schuette said. “We also have some seasonal stew mixes that are put in place during November through March.”
Louis Scagnelli, director of produce and floral for Alpha 1 Marketing, an affiliate of White Plains, N.Y.-based Krasdale Foods, also listed a number of fresh-cut pepper products: “stir fry blends, shish kebabs, crudités veggie platters, pepper and onion cooking blends, Asian mix blends, diced pepper blends, fajita mixes and salad rings.”
Cady noted that the fajita mix is one of the best value-added items that includes bell peppers.
“It does well in our department — but even better tied into the meat department,” Cady said.