In the chili pepper category, the anaheim, pablano and jalapeno varieties are big at Brookshire Food Stores, Durham says.
Stores usually merchandise all chili peppers together, usually on a 6- to 8-foot table. Size of the display varies with the size of each store’s Hispanic customer base, he says. Stores that serve only a small number of Hispanic shoppers may have only a few small baskets of chili peppers.
The chain limits advertising on most chili peppers to holidays such as Cinco de Mayo. But jalapenos are an exception. They’re on ad once or twice a month.
In stores with a large Hispanic customer base, it’s important to have a good-size display of fresh chili peppers to compete with Hispanic retailers, he says.
“If you don’t have a good spread, you’ll end up with more shrink because no one will notice them,” he says.
Some Brookshire stores also offer half a dozen varieties of packaged dried chili peppers.
The chain used to offer bulk dried peppers, but the packaged peppers seem to sell better, Durham says.
Angeli Foods Co. offers red, yellow, jalapeno and poblano chili peppers on a regular basis and some others, such as the yellow banana chili, seasonally, Simonson says.
He displays chili peppers in baskets about 8 inches wide and 1 foot deep, and they’re merchandised above the bell peppers. They’re seldom featured on ad.
Simonson also merchandises four or five kinds of dried chili peppers on hooks on a display rack.
County Market only has a small chili pepper display, Beard says. The store offers only jalapeno peppers plus an 8-ounce bag of miniature sweet green, yellow and red peppers.
Beard also includes some dried chili peppers in bags on a display rack that also includes about 40 kinds of spices.
You can sell more chili peppers if you give them plenty of display space and promote them with other Hispanic items, such as tomatillos, white onions, romas and cilantro, says Bobby Creel, director of business development for L&M Cos., Raleigh, N.C.
However, chili peppers are becoming much more mainstream.
“It’s not just a Hispanic item anymore,” he says.
Brooks Tropicals Inc., Homestead, Fla., offers Scotch bonnets, one of the hottest chili peppers, says Mary Ostlund, director of marketing. They come in mixed colors — orange, yellow, green and red — and are used by some aficionados to create trademark salsas, dips, curries and guacamole. “They’re a nice way to spice up foods and make a dish that’s totally different,” Ostlund says. They’re available year-round in 8-pound boxes and in clamshell containers.