Produce Moneyball With Execulytics: Mike Mauti Discusses Summer Insights on Fresh Peaches
- by Mike Mauti
TORONTO, CANADA - A couple of weeks ago, where I live in Toronto, we experienced the first real heatwave of 2021. And when I think of hot summery weather, my mind immediately goes to outdoors, swimming, grilling, and fruit—lots and lots of fruit. There is plenty of summer fruit that comes to mind, but this week, I could not shake the idea of peaches. And with peaches on the brain, I thought, ‘What better time than now to introduce the concept of Produce Moneyball?’
Have you ever heard of Billy Beane? He is the baseball executive who popularized the idea of winning by using advanced analytics. He would predict player performance and create an on-field advantage by studying math. His methods were immortalized in the movie Moneyball starring Brad Pitt as Billy Beane. In Produce Moneyball, we use advanced analytics to predict product costs and create a competitive buying and selling advantage.
If we take a look at the accompanying chart, we see a lot going on with 25 lb volume fill yellow peaches. Unsurprisingly, we see peak supply coming in July (week 28) and continuing with volume through mid-August (week 33.) Somewhat more surprising is that as supplies dwindled beginning in late August and throughout September (week 34–39), costs increased, and it did so inversely to available volume. Although this makes intuitive sense that costs increase as supplies decrease, it does not usually work out that way for peaches.
Normally, demand moves in step with supply, keeping a lid on costs. It did not happen that way last year. Chalk it up to one of the out-of-the-ordinary events brought on by a little something called COVID-19. The demand for peaches, and all fruit really, continued to put upward pressure on cost throughout the third quarter of 2020, when ordinarily demand would tail off.
Fast forward to 2021. What does Produce Moneyball have to say about peaches as we move through the third quarter? With the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel shining brighter with each passing month, we predict a return to more normal costing, trading stably in the high teens all summer.
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.