Differentiation: the chili market challenge

After 45+ years of learning and specializing in the production and export of chili, the natural desire of any company is to expand its market. However, we found ourselves with the reality of a massive offer from India and China in our same tariff position. This is a common situation for businesses in many areas. How to overcome this barrier? How to be attractive in a market with strong competitors?

The approach of Hugo Restrepo y Cía. was the result of our in-depth knowledge of the chili market, the characteristics of our product -not a generic chili pepper, but a specialty chili, and of our pre- and post-sale customer service process.

So many years monitoring the market made it possible for us to understand that the chili industry has several markets in itself. The mass market, which markets chile as one more spice called ‘chili pepper’, generally sold dehydrated. And then there is the specialty market that recognizes the characteristics of flavor, color and level of heat of each one of the thousands of chili peppers that exist in the world and its application in the creation of table sauces, cooking sauces, ready spicy meals -made and snacks. The latter marked by generations more eager to experiment with new foods and to mix new flavors in traditional foods. For example, although the Jalapeño is characteristic of Mexican food, today we find a multiplicity of non-Mexican products flavored with Jalapeño.

We understood that our competitiveness was rooted in elements such as the offer of a wide range of peppers:

‘we have worked on the development of different varieties, color profiles, flavor profiles and levels of heat’ Camilo Restrepo, President Hugo Restrepo & Cía.

We currently offer Cayenne, green and red Jalapeño; green, yellow and red Habanero; Yellow; green and red Serrano. We are constantly researching other varieties that adapt to our production model to launch on the market.

Additionally, from the beginning we have characterized ourselves by developing, hand in hand with each client, the perfect ingredient for their final product, with blends which are sometimes exclusive for each client. This pre- and post-sale exercise with all our clients allows us to go even further and not only offer a specialized pepper but also a fermented, concentrated, dehydrated ingredient with thousands of possible characteristics that could not be presented in a catalog because they are the result of customized work with each client.

Our differentiation is undoubtedly what has allowed us today to be positioned with clients in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. Providing food companies in the world with the spicy ingredients specially catered to highlight their final product.

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