How a hungry fanbase is powering this growing food brand into new categories
Food52 has conquered the kitchen, and the home is next. The food brand, which serves up recipes, content and products to its growing community of hungry foodies, is expanding into new areas and channels.
Formerly a food editor with the New York Times, Amanda Hesser co-founded Food52 11 years ago with Merrill Stubbs, a freelance food editor and writer, to better serve consumers looking for a more comprehensive food media brand.
“We didn’t feel served by any one brand—we wanted to explore creating a real hub for people who care about food, that would cover all aspects of where food touches your life—not just in the kitchen,” says Hesser on the latest episode of Ad Age’s Marketer’s Brief podcast.
In the last decade, Food52 has expanded beyond food content into wellness, home and travel and also introduced its own product line. Much of what the brand does is sourced through its community of fans, who provide feedback on recipes and product development.
“The life blood of our product line is involving our community from the ground up,” says Hesser, noting that the company uses product surveys, Instagram and in-person events to gather feedback.
Last fall, the Chernin Group acquired a major stake in the company, which Hesser says is paving the way for more growth.
“It has super-charged our metabolism,” she says. “Everyone’s really energized about what we can do next.”
The company has plans underway to open a permanent store and community hub, and will introduce a “magalog” print publication this spring with advertiser Behr, the paint company.