Food & Wine to serve up a 25,000 rate base increase

Food & Wine magazine is raising its rate base from 900,000 to 925,000 as of its January 2009 issue.

The increase marks the glossy’s first since 2002, when it went from 800,000 to 900,000, and coincides with a 4.5% increase in newsstand sales for the year. Executives at the magazine report that F&W has consistently over-delivered on its rate base since the last increase.

“When it comes to things like rate base and delivering numbers to advertisers, we are very conservative because it’s not something we take lightly,” explained Christina Grdovic, VP and publisher of Food & Wine. “It took a long time to get here because we needed to do due diligence. We felt like it was the right time.”

Food & Wine‘s target audience will remain the same through the increase: mostly female, college-educated adults; with a median age of 41.5 and median household income of $76,920 (per MRI Spring 2008).

Grdovic said that she is confident the magazine will continue to grow because of increasingly strong public interest in food. She cited as evidence the popularity of food magazines in general, TV shows like F&W-sponsored Top Chef, celebrity restaurants and food events such as wine festivals.

“Once people come into the lifestyle where they have good food and wine — and that could be the best hamburger and the best $10 bottle — they don’t go back,” she noted. “Once you have great food you always want great food, and the level of interest and knowledge continues to grow.”

No special marketing plans are in the works to push the rate base increase, but Food & Wine is holding a month-long, 30th anniversary celebration in September, which includes daily sweepstakes giveaways. Readers can log on to to register for prizes from the magazine’s advertisers — from a year’s supply of pasta sauce to a two-person resort stay. Food & Wine is also co-sponsoring the NYC Wine and Food Festival this October, in conjunction with sister American Express Publishing title Travel & Leisure.

Going forward, Grdovic said, the magazine will focus on adding to its relationship with Top Chef and on creating more integrated print and digital programs.

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