Taste editor Brodee Myers-Cooke: ‘The biggest change we’ve made in 11 years’

The editor of Australia’s biggest food site talks trends and focus for 2018

Last year was a big year for Taste.com.au with the NewsLifeMedia title relaunching its website for the first time in 11 years. This was a “massive undertaking”, Taste.com.au editor Brodee MyersCooke told Mediaweek. “It was the biggest change that we’ve made to Taste in 11 years.”

This year is about delivering on the new verticals that were introduced to the website following the redesign: Quick and Easy, Baking, Healthy, and Entertaining. The new verticals reflect the way that users browse Taste.com.au, Myers-Cooke said. “Usually when you update a website you’d expect to see a drop of about 10-20%, because of URL changes and what not. But all of our numbers went up.”

With over 50,000 recipes and 3.04 million unique browsers (November 2017), Taste.com.au is the biggest food website in Australia. “We are definitely a digital-first brand,” Myers-Cooke said. “We use digital to drive our magazine stories.”

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The biggest food trend from 2017 “that can’t be ignored”, according to Myers-Cooke, is the rise of vegetarianism, veganism and meat-free food. “These were things that were much more niche five years ago. These things have blasted into the mainstream in the biggest way possible in the last 12 months.”

She predicted this trend would continue to rise in popularity this year. “Health generally is bigger than it’s ever been in food. People of all ages are really excited by healthy eating,” Myers-Cooke said.

At the end of 2017, Taste.com.au conducted a survey with 11,000 people about their food consumption habits. The results showed an overall health rating of 57/100. As a result of this, the title launched a health campaign on 28 December 2017 called Eat Real. “It’s about encouraging people to eat more fruits and vegetables as a starting point, and then more whole foods generally – less of the processed foods,” Myers-Cooke said.

The survey asked participants about what stopped them from eating healthy and the common answers were that “it’s too expensive or it’s too difficult”. The Eat Real campaign, which will run throughout this year, aims to address these concerns. “We want to bust open these myths and hopefully change the nation’s health in a big way. With 11 years of Taste, it is time for us to take some leadership on Australia’s health, and produce some really beautiful and cheap recipes that they [the readers] can serve every night,” Myers-Cooke said.

2017 for Taste.com.au in print

The brand unashamedly has a digital focus. However, its monthly magazine gained a lot of recognition at various award functions in 2017.

Taste.com.au was named Magazine of the Year at News Corp’s internal awards. It also brought home four awards from the Australian Magazine Awards including Editor of the Year, 2017 Magazine of the Year, Food Magazine of the Year and Digital Media Brand of the Year. “That was pretty nice,” Myers-Cooke said.

The magazine’s readership in the 12 months to September 2017 was up 0.8% YOY to 612,000.

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