The pepper market finds itself in different phases across the globe at the moment. In the Netherlands, prices are high due to the end of the domestic season, whilst in the UK demand for imported Spanish peppers is good. The French market is currently experiencing oversupply, due to the late of the domestic season coinciding with the arrivals of Spanish goods. In Italy, the season has also been extended, due to hot weather, and these high temperatures have caused turbulence in the Spanish market. In South Africa, pepper prices have dropped from their extreme heights as local production comes onto the market. Meanwhile, China has exported its first peppers to Russia, whilst in North America both supply and pricing for peppers is on the rise.

Netherlands: Excellent pepper prices in Dutch season
The Dutch pepper season is over. According to a Dutch pepper seller, it has been a satisfactory season in terms of prices from start to finish, with only a slight dip in the summer. The season started a lot slower than usual. In Spain, peppers also had a difficult growth phase at the beginning of 2023, which meant that commercial demand for Dutch peppers was actually quite early. The combination of an early higher demand from European retailers for Dutch peppers and a smaller supply, ensured good price levels early in the season

UK: Good demand for bell peppers
The Spanish bell pepper import season has started in the UK, the first red, green and yellow bell peppers arrived at the start of November.

One importer who has growers in El Ejido, in Southern Spain, said they have been getting bell peppers for a few weeks now and the volumes are good.

“All of the bell peppers are grown in poly tunnels, so any wet weather doesn’t affect them. There was a very hot spell in the summer, but the quality we are receiving is excellent.”

The Dutch and UK bell pepper seasons have just ended so demand on the UK market is good. Prices took a week or so to catch up as the Dutch season ended with low prices. The company is importing good volumes of peppers each week of which are then distributed, this enables wholesalers get produce in smaller volumes and offers them continuity in terms of price and supply.

France: End of French production
The French production season is coming to an end, according to one operator. "But large volumes are still there because the fruit remained on the plants at the end of the season and had to be removed. There is an overall overproduction due to weather." So there are still a lot of French peppers in stock, while at the same time Spanish production is arriving on the French market, and distributors (especially supermarkets) have already switched to Spanish products. French bell pepper prices, for their part, "are not good and, above all, not consistent with normal production costs."

Italy: High temperatures extend season
In Italy, peppers are grown in various regions and are purchased by 62% of Italian households, particularly in the south and on the islands. In Sicily, the harvest has been ongoing since mid to late October and the plants are in excellent condition due to warmer temperatures during October, resulting in a higher yield. In contrast to the start of the season, prices for peppers are now decreasing and are presently standing at around €1.00/kg for yellow and green varieties. The main variety grown is the Lamuyo, which is marketed exclusively in Italy. The country is not self-sufficient in peppers and has to import them from Spain and partly from the Netherlands. In Senise (Basilicata), the pepper harvest ended a few days ago for some producers, thanks to the record temperatures in September and October. These extended the season, which started about a month late due to delayed planting following heavy rains in May/June.

In northern Italy, one of the main areas is Veneto. One major producer says that the harvest on his farm is concentrated from the end of June to the end of September. But this year, due to high autumn temperatures, he harvested peppers until mid-November. Prices in November were unsatisfactory, around €1.50/kg. In some earlier weeks, however, prices reached €2.50/kg for the best first quality production. In general, prices in 2023 were lower than in 2022. In addition to the Italian produce, Spanish yellow and red blocks of 80/100 or 90/100 size, in cartons or in bulk, are currently present on the main wholesale markets at a prevailing price of €1.5-2.40/kg.

Spain: 'Turbulent' period for bell pepper market
Greenhouse vegetable prices are high at the moment in Almeria. Bell peppers, as always, remain relatively stable, with good prices.

This bell pepper campaign is going through a somewhat turbulent period. The intense heat in July and August, when bell peppers were planted in the greenhouses, influenced the flowering; Much of it was lost, meaning that volumes at that time have generally been low and the quality of the first peppers has not been good. However, with the improvement in temperatures, this situation has already been overcome and prices, right now, remain at a good level.

Prices of California bell pepper are above 1 euro for all colors: between 1.10 and 1.21 euros for the kilo of green bell pepper, between 1.07 and 1.15 for yellow and between 1.48 and 1.57 for the red color. Red Lamuyo (mainly consumed in the domestic market) has reached 1.79 euros per kilo in the auction, Italian peppers (long green peppers) go between 1.00 and 1.17 euros and the Palermo pepper, well above, is at 2.58 euros per kilo.

“These are not bad prices, but it must be taken into account that the heat at the beginning of the season has caused farmers to lack kilos, recalls an producer and exporter from Almeria. “So let's hope that they can recover volumes between now and April/May, when the season in Almeria ends, giving way to the productions of Murcia and the Levante areas, so that the balance of the season is positive".

South Africa: Pepper prices drop
The extremely high pepper prices experienced in recent months have finally come down by 40% as summer temperatures rise over central South Africa and supply increases.

"Pepper prices fell back to R15.23/kh [0.74 euro] during the past week mostly driven by higher volumes and lower demand," says an agricultural economist, noting that yellow and red pepper prices came down in particular.

Pepper production usually increases towards the end of the year.

Green peppers are currently trading for R12.36 (0.6 euro), red peppers for R18.75 (0.9 euro) and yellow peppers for R21.38/kg (1.05 euro).

China: First bell pepper shipment exported to Central Europe
China’s Northeastern city of Haidong exported its first shipment ever on November 18 of colored bell peppers to Russia. From now on, more than 80 tons of color peppers will be shipped to Russia and Central European countries in batches. This first shipment contained 20 tons of bell peppers. According to reports, the yield of colored peppers grown in Ledu District reaches 4,000 kilograms per mu, with large fruits and high quality, meeting export standards. In order to further expand the sales market of local fruits and vegetables internationally, Ledu District is part of China’s "Belt and Road" network, opening up Russia and other European vegetable markets.

According to other sources, judging from the current market feedback, due to the impact of low prices last year, the planting area and supply of sweet peppers this year are relatively small. Main supply is available from April to May. Most of the bell pepper production so sold locally or regionally.

North America: Pricing expected to pick up on bell peppers
Supply of bell peppers in North America are normal for this time of year and in fact, has gone up slightly.

Right now production is underway in Coachella, California and in the East, production is increasing for bell peppers out of Florida while Georgia’s production has been impacted by Hurricane Idalia. Mexico started production slightly earlier due to planting times and it’s anticipated that the overall volume from Mexico to be at/below prior year levels due to the weaker U.S. dollar against the Mexico Peso. Meanwhile Canadian greenhouse production finishes up around the end of November-beginning of December but supply will continue from Mexico as well as Spain.

As for demand, it is average for bell peppers though consumption will increase for the coming weeks--specifically the Christmas/New Year holidays while pricing is on par right now but expected to increase for the holidays.

Looking ahead, bell pepper supply will dip when that Canadian bell pepper season ends and typically there are shortages until the next region, which is Culiacan, Mexico, begins its production.

Next week: Global Market Overview Mangos!