Peppadew, the name given to a variety of sweet piquante pepper marketed by Peppadew International, based in South Africa, is enjoying a surge in popularity, and its North American sales agent is promoting it at produce trade shows and looking to claim some shelf space in supermarket produce departments for the jarred product.
The Peppadew story begins 15 years ago in South Africa, when a businessman-farmer was at his vacation home on the country’s Eastern Cape and discovered an odd-looking bush that was full of bright red fruit.
He sampled the fruit and found that it had a unique flavor, dubbing it “peppadew” to reflect its peppery flavor that was also “as sweet and tantalizing as the dew,” according to the Peppadew web site.
Peppadew’s profile was lifted a decade ago when the fruit began to appear on olive bars at high-end supermarkets and delis.
Four years ago, Peppadew marketers began to push the product to the produce department, looking for space for the jarred product that is packed in a sweet-and-sour brine.
“We feel that the formula for success is to have it in the produce department,” said Pierre Crawley of Peppadew USA, who handles sales for the product in the United States. “There are a lot of different avenues for Peppadew, but produce is our target and we feel it is our best chance for success.”
Heretofore, Peppadew has been grown exclusively in South Africa and is available only in jars. The company has stayed away from marketing fresh product in part to protect its closely guarded seeds.
A new gold variety of Peppadew will be grown commercially this season in Morganville, NJ, though that variety also will be available only in jars.
“Peppadew red has a 180-day growing cycle, so it would be difficult to grow that here in the Northeast,” said Mr. Crawley. “But with a 90-day growing cycle, we can grow Peppadew gold at our facility in New Jersey. Gold is not spicy but rather sweet and tangy, and it will be sold in a close-to-fresh state but will still be packed in the sugar-vinegar brine.”
Mr. Crawley said that Peppadew comes in 14-ounce jars, 12 to a box, with an average retail price of $4.99 per jar. “And we will work with retailers to promote it at $3.99 per jar,” he said.
Mr. Crawley will promote Peppadew at the United Fresh Produce Association convention in New Orleans in booth No. 1606.