You are here

Top Magazine Editors Share How Readers Think About Food Production

Successful Farming magazine started Meredith Corporation in 1902. Today, Meredith is a large media company with many familiar brands: Better Homes and Gardens®, Family Circle®, Shape®, Rachael Ray Every Day®, and many others. We asked three top editors to share how their readers think about food and food production.

Better Homes and Gardens

We Are What We Eat

By Stephen Orr, Editor in Chief

Like a lot of Americans, I was a picky eater as a kid. When I think back to those days in West Texas, the only vegetables I would eat were the corn, tomatoes, onions, black-eyed peas, and okra my dad bought from farmers on the side of the highway. Then, as now, I wanted to know where my food came from. I’m happy to say that today, many Americans feel the same way.

What has been called the farm-to-table or local food movement in the past several years is really just a celebration of authenticity. It is a long-overdue salute to the farmers who grow our food. Here in Des Moines, Iowa, we are blessed with one of the largest and most varied weekend farmers markets in the country. 

While it’s true that some people are there for the people watching, the musical performers, or the food vendors, I wonder if most of them are there for the connection. More than ever, we value knowing the people who produce our food. It’s even fashionable in many restaurants to boast which farm our vegetables, cheese, pork chops, or grains come from.

At Better Homes and Gardens, we are, of course, interested in presenting the latest food trends for the home cook, but we also like to stay grounded. Even as the American palate continues to grow in sophistication, we try not to get hung up on chef-derived techniques or exotic ingredients. That’s not to say we don’t like to experiment in the kitchen or to try out a new recipe. At the end of the meal, what matters most is a deep interest in the source material – the inspiring seasonal harvest of our nation’s farms.

Better Homes and Gardens magazine

  • 7.6 million subscribers
  • 12 issues per year

EatingWell

By Jessie Price, Editor in Chief

EatingWell magazine is all about delicious, healthy food. For our readers, choosing better food is about way more than nutrients. Where their food comes from, what’s in it, and how it was grown are just as important. 

Some of our best-rated stories (based on reader surveys) cover topics including honeybee colony collapse disorder, the families who are harvesting and selling wild blueberries from Maine, and the subtherapeutic use of antibiotics in livestock. 

Of course, our readers aren’t a monolithic group. I imagine a better food spectrum when I think of our readers. On this spectrum, there are people who are just starting to make more conscious, healthy food choices, and there are people who are already deeply committed to it – the super-green, super-healthy end of the spectrum. Overall, our readers are inclined toward food choices that have lighter environmental impact, are better for animal welfare, and are fair to farm workers. Food waste, environmental toxins, organic agriculture, and GMOs are hot topics for them. 

There’s a lot of noise out there, especially online, about food and what we should all be afraid about. Our readers tend to trust science and be skeptical about fads, but they are not immune from believing some of the buzzy myths about food. They are gobbling up information wherever and whenever they see it. They yearn for transparency around how farmers are producing food.

Eating Well magazine

  • 1 million circulation
  • 6 issues per year

Allrecipes

By Doug Crichton, Managing Editor

At Allrecipes magazine, we know exactly what our readers want. They tell us via millions of searches and recipe views on Allrecipes.com, day after day. That’s the power of the world’s largest online community of cooks (13 million and counting). We know what’s most important to them, as well, by combining and combing through reams of recipe ratings, views, saves, searches, research, and more.

Here’s one example. Searches for “egg” soared from #64 in January 2015 to #1 by April last year, so we ran a feature this past April on everything you need to know about eggs, along with six top-rated recipes. It was a home run. In a follow-up survey, readers ranked the story #1 in the issue.

Healthy Eating

One of the most popular lifestyle trends across all age groups is clean eating. The term means different things to different people, but its core focus is on foods that are fresh, local, and as minimally processed as possible. 

What do parents want most for their kids? After “learn to cook,” their top picks are “eat unprocessed foods” and “eat all-natural foods.”  

Challenges

Readers say the hardest part of planning and prepping meals is deciding what to make. (That’s where the magazine comes in. Readers say they love Allrecipes.com when they need a recipe for tonight’s or tomorrow’s supper.) They love the magazine for an inspiring, relaxing experience of discovery. After all, would you rather browse through 5,700 results from a “chicken” search, or let us show you the six best?

More than two thirds of millennials say it’s tough to find healthy and appealing solutions for kids.

Shopping

Two thirds of our readers use their phones while in the store: 58% of millennials use them to compare prices, 51% use them for shopping lists, and 46% use them to find recipes.

Also, 93% of our readers use a shopping list. Whatever isn’t on that list, it’s not in the cart.

So what is in the cart? Fresh produce (91%), dairy (88%), and meat, fish, and poultry (84%).

Allrecipes magazine

  • 1.23 million subscribers
  • 6 issues per year
This article is part of a series titled Meet Your New Boss: The Millennials

Read more about

Talk in Farm Business

Most Recent Poll

What best describes the state of your corn crop?