'Covering all the bases': Kraft expands circ for 'Food & Family'

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Kraft Foods has ramped up its custom-publishing operation and is considering plans to distribute its Food & Family magazine to 10 million U.S. households.

The package-goods behemoth has been sending the glossy 64-page title, supported by a number of external advertisers, to select zip codes and is expected to roll it out more broadly next year. An executive close to the situation said the target circulation could be around 10 million, although Kraft declined to comment.

Some predict that the targeted vehicle may in fact cause a shift away from Kraft's traditional print media expenditures. "If they can show that [Food & Family] is reaching their best consumers better than Redbook, they would be stupid not to do that," the executive close to the situation said.

A Magazine Publishers of America spokeswoman said the group supports custom publishing and does not see it as a threat.

Kraft spent $40 million in 2001 and $22 million in the first seven months of this year on print advertising, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR.

The Food & Family rollout is due in large part to Kraft's success in Canada with a custom magazine, What's Cooking. The magazine, whose popularity sparked a spin-off TV program under the same banner, has delivered good response rates and increased sales, said Eric Schneider, president-CEO of Redwood Custom Communications.

Redwood handles the Canadian effort and now has won the U.S. custom-publishing business for Kraft from Meredith Corp., which spearheaded a custom coupon-insert leaflet for Kraft in early 2000 (AA, Jan. 31) also called Food & Family.

Unlike the insert, Food & Family magazine includes few coupons, instead offering recipes and cooking tips. Articles feature Kraft products such as Ritz Bits Sandwiches and Kraft Salad Dressings and Kraft products make up at least 80% of advertising. Other revenue is expected to come from outside advertisers, such as Tupperware.

capturing loyalty

Publishing efforts are part of Kraft's efforts to offer information and services that will help garner volume-producing loyalty. Food & Family's fourth edition this year will be published shortly, and Kraft last month launched its first-ever cookbook.

"We know from research that the top three ways consumers get ideas are cookbooks, the Web and magazines, so now we're covering all the bases," a Kraft spokeswoman said.

Kraft is not the only marketer to make publishing a priority. A study of 300 U.S. marketers by the Custom Publishing Council showed that publishing grew from 11.1% of marketers' media mix in 2000 to 13.2% of the mix in 2001.

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