Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine is about to get up close and personal with American's shopping carts. According to a report in Brandweek, the cooking magazine is gearing up for the launch of "Supermarket 101," a new monthly section that spans everything from "going into shopping carts to seeing what turns shoppers on, what products they love, to analyzing their receipts," said executive editor Theresa O'Rourke. Parent company Reader's Digest Association will introduce the package via a five-page "State of the Supermarket" feature in April. In subsequent issues, the feature will run as a one-page column within the magazine's front-of-book section, called "Ready, Set."
While the magazine already includes plenty of budget-friendly tips ("family dinners for $10 [or less!]," the February cover reads), O'Rourke said the food lifestyle magazine is the first to dedicate a monthly column to the subject. The idea came about from consumer response to the recession. "Consumers are eating at home more, and if you're single, you're still trying to figure out ways to maintain a home that's fun, easy and enjoyable," said publisher Anne Balaban.
Speaking to the effect the section will have on bringing in ad revenue, Balaban also noted that "advertisers will be excited by this feature for the trend information, insider tips and relevant value message, as well as giving readers a new perspective on the supermarket shopping experience."
Playing off the section's theme, Every Day with Rachael Ray is introducing the April content using a design that resembles a supermarket circular. The May edition will focus on "Big Deals" and upcoming topics include hidden grocery shopping costs, the best online grocery services and top-selling sodas. The magazine has also retained a network of national stringers to follow consumers as they shop in stores.
"It's not just seeing what brands consumers love, but how organic the shopping experience can be," O'Rourke said of the latter. "We're asking them: 'How did this product wind up in your shopping cart?'"
Balaban said the magazine is currently looking into sponsorship/advertising opportunities with major packaged goods companies. In December, the publication announced it had teamed up with digital media provider CBS Outernet to run ads on flat-screen TVs in Albertsons stores nationwide. Kraft and Almond Board were among the early sponsors at the time.
Peter Murane, founder of BrandJuice, a marketing strategies firm in Denver, said "Supermarket 101" would be well-received by the magazine's readers. "This is an ongoing [feature] that people are going to want to read. [Consumers nowadays] want to make the most use of their money and make good, long-term choices." rachaelrayweb.com