TORONTO, CANADA - I recently engaged in a debate with a friend regarding artichokes. The crux of the argument was whether artichokes were really all about the tender hearts or if the firmer leaves had any redeeming value. My view is there is room on my dinner plate for both the artichoke heart and the leaves. But my friend would have none of it. ‘Once you’ve had the heart, the leaves just don’t measure up,’ was the basis of her argument. Although we ended the debate in a stalemate, I did offer to whip up some artichoke nachos, using only the leaves once they are in season.
The good news, for my friend, is that artichokes become more available starting in September and hit their peak in October. In fact, the peak coincides with baseball’s pennant race and post-season. Since we are talking artichokes and baseball, no better time to bring out our trusty planning instrument, Produce Moneyball to help figure out where we are going with artichokes. In the insightful words of iconic baseball personality Yogi Berra ‘If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.’ If that ‘someplace else’ is anywhere other than artichoke supremacy, you don’t want to go there.
The accompanying graph shows 2020 volume began to ramp up in September starting in week 37 and hit a peak in week 44 as the calendar switched into November. FOB costs were unseasonably high throughout this time period during the COVID-affected 2020, but did come down as volumes increased. This year, Produce Moneyball is predicting a more normal year as COVID is placed in our rear-view mirror. FOB costs are expected to be lower in 2021 than they were in 2020 rising to the mid-teens as demand picks up during its peak. Keep checking with Produce Moneyball, it’s a good gut check to ensure you are getting to the heart of the artichoke matter and for knowing where you are going with produce costing.
Mike Mauti, Managing Partner, Execulytics
Leading the Execulytics team, Mike brings more than 20 years of experience as a leader in the fresh foods industry. Over this time, Mike has gained expertise in retail operations, procurement, and merchandising. Specific skills around grocery retailing, particularly in produce buying and selling, make Mike a valuable partner for suppliers and independent retailers alike.