Reader's Digest to Launch 'Healthy Cooking'

'Light & Tasty' Circulation Shifted to New Title Aimed at Competitive Category

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The Reader's Digest Association is continuing its transformation under former Fairchild chief Mary Berner, killing off its Light & Tasty brand next month and shifting its paid circulation of 500,000 to a new magazine called Healthy Cooking.
Light & Tasty's paid circulation of 500,000 will shift to the new Healthy Cooking.
Light & Tasty's paid circulation of 500,000 will shift to the new Healthy Cooking.

Light & Tasty, part of the company's Taste of Home franchise, was failing to capitalize on growing interest in wholesome eating, said Suzanne Grimes, president-food and entertaining at RDA. "We realized that we didn't have a title that really focused on healthy cooking," she said. "If we intend to be the food authority in the U.S., we certainly need to cover that in a bigger way."

Being "the" food authority is, of course, a tall order. Competition is intensifying among food magazines, partly because they have comprised one of the brighter spots in the magazine industry so far. Taste of Home magazines also suffer a low profile among marketers because they only began accepting ads at the end of 2007.

Cooking Light, Rachel Ray up
Cooking Light, the 20-year-old Time Inc. title, has just raised its average paid circulation guarantee to 1.75 million and reported a 5.2% increase in paid circ over 2006. Martha Stewart's Everyday Food, a relatively recent arrival, just reported average paid and verified circulation of 918,946 over the second half of 2007, essentially flat from the half a year prior, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Elsewhere at Reader's Digest Association, the even younger Every Day with Rachael Ray continues to post impressive growth, most recently a 67.4% increase in average paid and verified circulation to approach 1.7 million.

Hearst Magazines is contemplating a joint venture to create a Food Network magazine, as first reported by Portfolio.com, while the Publishing Group of America boasts that its 2-year-old Relish newspaper supplement has circulation of 12 million.

Won't have it easy
Conde Nast's Bon Appetit just updated its design and transformed the logo for the first time in 17 years, while sibling Gourmet keeps spreading its wings with extensions like the PBS series "Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie."

All this means Healthy Cooking won't necessarily have it easy. But it had to take over for Light & Tasty, executives said, and will have a place in the market.

"This is real food and yet because it is this type of health information, it is more upscale," said Catherine Cassidy, editor in chief of the Taste of Home brand. "If everyone else is competing to be the stiletto heel in the epicurean space, we're the comfortable shoe."

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