Artichokes may not be big sellers, but they are a high-value item for your produce department. Artichokes are increasingly being stocked in warehouse stores and at discount chains, as well, showing their broad appeal. Use artichokes to draw in a high-value customer to your store. Promote the amazing health benefits of artichokes and educate consumers about how to prepare and eat artichokes to get them moving off the shelves.
- Artichokes have numerous health benefits. They may help protect against cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol. A 2006 study found that artichokes contain the highest level of antioxidants of any vegetable. Antioxidants are known cancer fighters. Artichokes are also high in folate, which can help prevent birth defects.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the following nutrient content descriptors for artichokes: fat-free, saturated fat-free, low in sodium, cholesterol-free, low-calorie, a good source of fiber, a good source of vitamin C, a good source of folate and a good source of magnesium.
- Artichokes are rarely eaten by themselves. Cross-merchandise them with sauces and dips, salad items, lemons, bottled dips, dressings, butter, and jarred or canned artichoke hearts.
- Promote artichokes with similarly priced items, such as berries, mushrooms and prepared vegetables.
- Artichokes are available year-round so promote them all the way around the calendar.
- Fall: Include artichokes in fall promotions, especially as the days get cooler. They make a hearty appetizer when used in dips, and stuffed artichokes can be a warm meal on a cool day.
- Winter: Don’t forget artichokes as a holiday offering. Encourage consumers to consider them as an interesting addition to the holiday table. They make a hearty winter meal when served stuffed, as well.
- Spring: Don’t leave artichokes out of your Easter and Mother’s Day promotional plans. Promote them along with asparagus as a great side dish for the Easter or Mother’s Day meal.
- Summer: Artichokes are fabulous grilled, so include them in grilling promotions around the summertime holidays.
- Don’t underestimate the benefits of sampling to move artichokes. When consumers can see how easy they are to prepare and how good they taste, it’s easier to move them off the shelves.
- Variety is the key to moving more artichokes. Offer baby artichokes and purple artichokes to provide some variety to the category.
- Handle artichokes correctly by keeping them at 34 degrees and keeping them moist. Stack them stem to stem to make them easier to pick up. Keep your display fresh by removing dark or wilted artichokes from the display.
- Packaged artichokes make an attractive display and are an easy way for consumers to purchase them. Consider offering artichokes in bags or clamshells.
- Use artichokes as a color break between items like tomatoes, carrots, summer squash or eggplant. Their unusual texture can also help break up an otherwise boring display.
- Take advantage of the opportunity to introduce consumers to something new. Include artichokes as appetizers and entrees on your menu.
- Artichokes can be served with nearly any entrée. They complement meat, seafood and poultry.
- Artichoke is a tasty addition to soups and stews. Baby artichokes make interesting and tasty appetizers. Include artichoke dip as an appetizer offering.
- Include artichoke hearts on salad bars.
- Consider using artichoke hearts as a topping for pizza.
In The Backroom
24-lb. wax-treated carton, by count or loose pack, including imports 22-lb. cartons 23-lb. cartons, 12 4- or 5-count or 14 6-count tray-packed 20-lb. cartons 16-lb. cartons, 12 2-count shrink-wrapped or 12 2-count tray-packed Package sizes must not vary by more than 3⁄4 inch in diameter. Size must be stamped or marked in terms of numerical count or minimum size. Baby 10-lb. cartons 22-lb. cartons 50-lb. cartons 23-lb. cartons, 16 9-count tray-packed 24-lb. cartons, 12 2-pound tray-packed 26-lb. cartons, 16 12-count tray-packed 25-lb. cartons, 24 1-lb. poly bags or 12 2-lb. poly bags RPC 6413, 6416, 6423, 6425, 6428
U.S. No. 1 U.S. No. 2 Carton counts 12 = extra-large 15 = extra-large 18 = large 24 = large 30 = medium 36 = medium 48 = small 60 = small 72 = small large loose (baby) small loose (baby)
Temperature: 34 to 38 F, 1 to 3 C Relative humidity: 95% Mist: Yes Artichokes are subject to darkening, wilting and molding. Check the base end of the bud for signs of worm injury. Although it may appear negligible on the outside, the path may run deeply into the heart and cause extensive waste. Serious discoloration often indicates damage from bruises or a lack of freshness. The bruises may appear as dark off-color areas at the site of the injury and mold or decay also may develop. Over-mature product often is woody and may be undesirably strong-flavored. Hard-tipped leaf scales that are opening or spreading signal over-maturity. Center formations may be fuzzy and dark pink or purple in color. Artichokes should be selected according to season. Spring Look for rounded, heavy, compact and plump artichokes with good green color and tight leaves. Summer/fall Artichokes will be flared and conical in shape. Some fall artichokes may have white to bronze outer petals because they have been touched by a light frost. The artichokes should be somewhat heavy for their size. Winter Select artichokes that are heavy, compact and plump. Some blistering may be caused by light frost, which causes a white to bronze appearance.
- 8% of consumers said they purchased artichokes in the past year.
- More than 40% of consumers who bought artichokes said they purchased baby artichokes in the past year.
- Consumers in the West were nearly twice as likely to purchase artichokes as consumers in the rest of the country.
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