Bell peppers are a favorite fruit for many people since they provide a spicy and zesty flavor.
They’re an ideal ingredient to liven up salads and several other dishes.
If you buy bell peppers regularly, you may have noticed that their prices have increased.
Considering bell peppers are a common crop, you may wonder what’s happened to make them so expensive.
Why Are Bell Peppers So Expensive? (10 Reasons)
The average price of bell peppers ranges from $2 to $5 per pound.
Bell peppers are expensive due to a few factors like low yields, certain features of bell peppers, shortages, and various farming costs.
Let’s look at these factors in more detail.
1. Long Growth Cycle
One of the problems with bell peppers is that they take a long time to grow.
On average, it takes between 60 and 90 days for bell peppers to achieve full maturity.
Green peppers tend to take the shortest time to mature.
Red peppers tend to take the longest time to mature.
A long maturation cycle makes bell peppers expensive for a few reasons.
The first is that it means farmers have to put more costs into it before the crop is ready for sale.
They’ll need to spend money on fertilizer, pesticides, and herbicides to keep the peppers safe while they mature.
Since they take a long time to mature, the farmer will have to put more costs into their protection.
Once the peppers are finally ready, they need to make up for the costs that the farmer spent on them.
Otherwise, the farmer won’t make a profit or even break even.
The length of time also means that it takes longer for farmers to have some revenue.
Even if they didn’t put any costs into the peppers, they’re still waiting for them to mature, so they can make a profit off them.
Because they have to wait longer, they need to sell at higher prices.
Bell peppers are expensive because they take a long time to mature compared to other crops.
2. Low Yield Naturally
Another problem facing the farming of bell peppers is that they produce a low yield.
No matter how many seeds a farmer plants, they’re not going to have a very large yield of peppers.
They just don’t produce that much.
This impacts the price of bell peppers in a few ways.
The first is that it means there’s always a risk of a shortage occurring.
Since bell peppers don’t produce a high yield, farmers can only sell so many peppers.
If any other problem occurs, it can impact their supply substantially.
As a result, there might be fewer bell peppers on the market which impacts their price.
Having a low yield essentially makes bell peppers vulnerable.
It also means farmers have to focus on selling the few bell peppers they have to make a profit.
They can’t rely on a huge, bulk, sale to earn a profit.
Bell peppers are expensive because they produce low yields which makes their supply vulnerable.
3. High Demand
Bell peppers are also in high demand.
On their own, they make great additions to salads.
They can offer a bit of spice that can liven up an otherwise boring or flavorless salad.
If you’re not one to use dressing on your salad, for example, including some sliced peppers in your dish can make it enjoyable.
You can also chop them up and put them in many other dishes.
They have unique and spicy flavors that can make some memorable meals.
However, bell peppers can also go through some more processing to become other products.
Some companies make certain types of spices or sauces out of them.
Some might even use them to bring some color to their products instead of relying on artificial colors.
Because bell peppers provide so many different uses, it means there are a lot of people and companies that want to get their hands on them.
This becomes a problem when a shortage occurs.
If there aren’t enough bell peppers to go around, the price increases.
Bell peppers are expensive because they’re in high demand across several markets.
4. Color Of Bell Pepper
The color of the bell pepper that you buy can also impact its price.
Green bell peppers tend to be the cheapest option.
Red bell peppers tend to be the most expensive option.
That’s because red peppers take the longest to grow.
Since it spends more time growing, farmers are putting more costs into them.
They’re likely going to need more water, fertilizer, and protective sprays compared to green bell peppers.
Since the farmer sunk more costs into their red bell peppers, they’re going to need to sell them at higher prices.
Red bell peppers also have a bit more flavor than green bell peppers.
Their flavor is even more potent than yellow bell peppers.
People who want a strong, pepper flavor will opt for red peppers over others.
Because there’s a slight preference for red peppers, the demand for them is a bit higher than the others in certain circles.
As such, if the supply isn’t there to support the demand, the price of red bell peppers is going to be quite high.
Bell peppers are expensive when you’re buying the red variety.
5. Cold Temperatures Impacting Growth
Bell peppers do not like cold temperatures.
While they might be able to survive chilly temperatures, they won’t be able to do so for long periods.
If temperatures drop below freezing, then there’s a real chance that the pepper will die.
This is a problem because areas in which bell peppers grow are experiencing winter storms.
These are areas that typically see warm or cool temperatures during the winter.
Now, they’re subject to freezing temperatures that threaten crops.
Cold temperatures impact bell peppers by killing their leaves.
If the leaves of a bell pepper plant die, the fruit isn’t going to grow.
It relies on its leaves for sunlight and water absorption.
When cold temperatures strike areas that don’t typically see cold temperatures, farmers aren’t prepared for it.
They might miss their opportunity to harvest their fields.
As a result, they might not have a large yield to show for their efforts.
To try to break even, they’ll need to sell their peppers at higher prices.
Another problem is the length of time it takes for bell peppers to mature.
If farmers want their bell peppers to turn red, they have to let them stay on the plant for a longer period.
If there’s a blast of cold weather, however, then farmers have no choice but to harvest what they can.
This impacts the supply of red peppers, specifically.
It means there are fewer red peppers available on the market.
That will increase the price of red peppers.
Bell peppers are expensive because cold temperatures often threaten their harvest and can decrease their supply.
6. Value Based On Quality Of Color
A lot of a bell pepper’s value comes from its color rather than anything else.
The amount of green in a green bell pepper, for example, is what makes it valuable.
The amount of red in a red bell pepper is what gives its value.
If a red bell pepper has some green or yellow in it, it’s not going to be as valuable.
The same goes for a yellow bell pepper that has some green or red in it.
It loses value.
Essentially, the more solid the color is, the more expensive it is.
An incredibly red bell pepper is going to be more expensive than a bell pepper that isn’t as vibrantly red.
You may find that bell peppers that look bland or have a mix of colors are cheaper at your grocery store.
That’s because the grocery store values them based on their color rather than on their weight.
Bell peppers are expensive when they have vibrant, solid, colors.
7. Organic Bell Peppers
When it comes to farming bell peppers, you can choose between treating them with synthetic or chemical or natural agents.
Your choice will determine whether your bell peppers are organic or standard.
Organic bell peppers tend to be more expensive because farmers use natural methods to take care of them.
Instead of using synthetic fertilizers, for example, they’ll use natural fertilizers.
Instead of treating their bell peppers with chemical pesticides or herbicides, they’ll use natural means.
Those means tend to be more expensive.
Since a farmer is taking on more costs to grow organic bell peppers, they will sell them at higher prices.
Organic products also market themselves as healthier.
Since it avoids chemicals, the products seem more natural and holistic.
In regards to marketing, that allows certain brands to increase their prices, too.
Since it seems healthier, they know that people are going to be more willing to pay higher prices for products that they believe are healthy.
Bell peppers are expensive when you buy organic bell peppers.
8. Fertilizer Costs
One of the costs that farmers are struggling with is fertilizer costs.
It’s been difficult for fertilizer manufacturers to make their products because of a lack of resources.
They’re facing nitrogen and ammonia shortages.
Without those resources, they can’t make fertilizer.
The fertilizer they do make is in short supply.
Farmers end up having to spend a lot of money to acquire enough fertilizer to feed their fields.
Since they’re taking on higher costs, they need to sell their bell peppers at higher prices to break even at the very least.
Bell peppers are expensive because of fertilizer costs.
9. Labor Costs
Labor costs are another expense that is making bell peppers more expensive.
A lot of farmers pick their bell peppers by hand.
That usually means they hire workers to pick their peppers.
Depending on how large their fields are, they might have quite a number of workers picking peppers.
Most farmers use human workers instead of machines because they need their workers to pay attention to the peppers before picking them.
The peppers aren’t always ready for harvest.
As such, it’s up to the worker to determine if it’s time to harvest a pepper or let it rest on the plant a bit longer.
If they used machines, they might end up with a lot of unripe peppers.
Labor costs make running the farm more expensive.
To offset their costs, farmers have to put high prices on their peppers.
Bell peppers are expensive because of high labor costs.
10. Losses To Sunburn
Bell pepper shortages also influence their price.
One of the problems that some bell peppers experience is sunburn.
While bell peppers need a good amount of sun, too much sun exposure can result in a sunburn.
When a bell pepper receives a sunburn, it can completely ruin the crop.
As such, farmers must be aware of how much sun their peppers receive.
They’ll need to take some precautions should it look like their peppers are at risk.
In places that see a lot of sun and little rain, for example, some farms might lose a large number of peppers to sunburn.
That only makes the shortage worse which increases the price of peppers.
Bell peppers are expensive because some succumb to sunburns.