The stores display bell pepper in sections about 5 feet deep by 4 feet wide.
Bell peppers used to sell better during the winter, but now that they’ve become popular for grilling, Angeli’s sells more during the summer.
Regular price for bulk colored peppers is $3.59 per pound. A typical sale price is $1.99 to $2.59 per pound. Green bell peppers usually sell for 99 cents each; they go for 2 for $1 or 79 cents each on sale.
Regular price for packaged peppers is $4.99, and a typical sale price is $2.99. Occasionally the store will get a good deal and price them at 2 for $5.
Buying in bulk
About 90% of the bell peppers sold by the County Market store in Macomb, Ill., are bulk, says Dave Beard, produce manger at the store, which is owned by Niemann Foods Inc., Quincy, Ill.
The store also offers tri-color packages of bell peppers.
At least one color of bulk peppers is on ad about once every five weeks, but County Market rarely advertises packaged peppers.
Beard says he’s noticed an increase in sales of red and yellow peppers, while sales of green peppers have remained consistent.
He attributes that trend to TV cooking shows that feature colored peppers and to prices that have been falling more in line with the greens.
Colored peppers now cost only about 80 cents more apiece than the green ones, he says. The price difference used to be in the range of $1.50.
“The pepper display can look very attractive with a lot of different colors, sizes and shapes,” says Mike Aiton, marketing director for Prime Time International, Coachella, Calif. “A good merchandiser puts them all together and promotes different peppers on a regular basis.”
The best bell pepper values usually are found around February and March, when Mexico’s production is at a peak, he says.
Consumers searching for something completely different may look for chocolate, purple or white bell peppers, says Robert Schueller, director of public relations for Melissa’s World Variety Produce Inc., Los Angeles.
Some shoppers may ask for them around the holidays, he says, but the market is small and focused on high-end, major-market retailers.
Retailers can use cross-merchandising to increase pepper sales, says Dionysios Christou, vice president of marketing for Del Monte Fresh Produce, Coral, Gables, Fla.
“Pairing peppers with fajita or shish kabob ingredients will encourage consumers to purchase and try pepper varieties,” he says. “Placing (point-of-sale) material and recipe cards in the produce department will also increase pepper sales and consumer knowledge.”