DON’T CALL IT A REDESIGN: Food & Wine editor in chief Dana Cowin, digital director Alex Vallis and senior vice president and publisher Christina Grdovic were midway through their presentation on their new Web site before they paused to underscore an important point. “This is a relaunch. It isn’t a redesign,” said Grdovic, who spoke about the improved monetization opportunities of the new site, while Vallis scrolled through the cleaner, more advertising-friendly version of Food & Wine.
The site, which launches today, will include a new series of videos, a set of features and a mobile-friendly recipe search, which will put the brand in direct competition with digital recipe-centric sites Allrecipes and Epicurious.
The mission of the site was summed up by Cowin, who showcased an improved layout, including more space for photography, pull quotes and features with integrated video, “How do you have the best food life?”
Clicking through slides of pumpkin pie and lavender fields in Provence, the editor offered: “We want them to drool and dream.”
While video isn’t new for F&W, it will launch with five new series, and expand on “Mad Genius Tips,” which is a sort of epicurean how-to-series, as well as sponsored stories and e-commerce.
Allianz has sponsored a feature called “Chef Dispatch,” which is a culinary guide of sorts by a well-known chef. The site debuts with Hugh Acheson’s guide to Luxembourg, for example.
Lindt Excellence has commissioned a package dubbed: “How to Have the Best Food Year of Your Life,” while Appleton Estate has partnered on a cocktail-centric endeavor with Drizly, which Grdovic described as the “Uber of liquor.” Essentially, F&W will create native content that has cocktail recipes by Appleton. Users will click on the ingredients and will be directed to Drizly, where users can buy the Appleton products and all the other ingredients. Drizly will then deliver the goods. For broader e-commerce efforts, including the ability to buy ingredients for any recipe listed on its site, F&W will capitalize on Time Inc.’s partnership with Chicory, a third-party site that links consumers to retailers such as Peapod and Amazon.
“We do a lot of native content. The advertisers love it,” the publisher said, stating the obvious. “The Drizly partnership will include a lot of native content.”
Aside from native, the F&W crew hopes to pull more visitors and capitalize on the growing food space. Over the last six months, the site has drawn on average 3.3 million unique views, a 22 percent uptick over the same period last year, according to data from comScore.