(Sept. 18) VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Continuing to strengthen its sales and marketing of greenhouse-grown peppers, BC Hot House Foods Inc. has formed a marketing alliance with a major Nogales, Ariz., greenhouse sweet bell pepper grower-shipper.

Malena Produce Inc., Nogales, agreed Sept. 15 to allow BC Hot House to exclusively market its peppers.

“They are one of the premier producers of peppers out of Mexico,” said Dawn Gray, BC Hot House’s vice president of marketing.

“This deal will marry our packaging expertise with their quality and production. You could sense immediately that you have the same mind-setand the same long-term view on where the industry is going and what we need to be doing to make sure we’re properly positioned in the market.”

The marketing alliance, which has Malena packing red, yellow, orange and green Mexican peppers in 350,000 standard BC Hot House 11-pound cartons, will end BC Hot House’s December-May off-season and allow the distributor to provide peppers year-round.

“Unlike a buy-sell deal, we are committed to moving Malena’s peppers, and they are committed to providing us with supply,” Gray said.

Danny Stoler, Malena’s sales manager, said the deal also will help increase the 51-year-old vegetable shipper’s sales.

“With the volumes that we’re currently growing, there’s not enough to be able to consistently supply your club stores and retailers with a 12-month program,” he said. “They’re (BC Hot House) already packaging the specialty packs. The deal will allow them to continue supplying their customers with our supplies and create a 12-month supply for our customers.”

The alliance also will produce a full line of specialty pepper packs, said David Smith, BC Hot House’s president and chief executive officer.
“It’s an important step for both of our companies,” said Stoler. “We’re able to complement one another with supplies available through different times of the year.”

The move is the latest in BC Hot House’s strategy to develop partnerships with other suppliers. The 31-year-old former cooperative Aug. 20 announced a deal with Village Farms LP, Eatontown, N.J., to supply year-round vegetables.

Additional alliances with tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers are expected by year’s end, said Gray.