Thursday, May 31, 2012

Is the World Ready for a Men’s Cooking Magazine?


On the heels of our discussion about the emergence of dads as the new moms (Thomas, 2012) comes word that Men’s Health magazine has been increasing their cooking editorial coverage with features such as the “Guy Gourmet” blog and how-to-cook videos created by well-known chefs for the iPad. 

Their newest addition, timed to coincide with the June distribution of the magazine’s Guy Food Guide,  is a local event -- the first Men’s Health Cooking School, scheduled to take place on June 9th at the New York International Culinary Center. (Sass, 2012)

How interesting.  But given the fact that the traditional cooking magazines have all seen ad pages for food products drop in first quarter 2012, is it a good idea?  What do you think?  Are men ready to take over cooking chores too?


Thomas, S. (2012, May 12).  Are Dads the New Moms?  Wall Street Journal.  p. C3
Sass, E. (2012, May 30).  ‘Men’s Health’ Hosts Cooking School.  mediapost.com.  Retrieved May 31, 2012, from

11 comments:

  1. I believe the move by Men’s Health to increase the content how-to cooking for males is great. First, given the state of the economy and American’s continued focus on their spending, eating at home is certainly a way to save money. Though ad spending is down, I feel that with continued bad news about the economy, most recently lack luster employment numbers, consumers will continue to find ways to tighten their spending.

    Further, by Men’s Health promoting this “how-to” cooking allows for manufacturers to target the male demographic which could offset the losses by the current shopper pool. Also, I could imagine that manufacturers of kitchen appliances and accessories could see an up tick since males will not want to use the female orientated kitchen tools, rather get their own male version emblazoned with favorite football, baseball, etc. team.

    Finally, I feel this move could be successful since the newer generations appear to be more health conscious. By providing a medium, cooking in this case, to control the amount of fat, sodium, etc. could increase the amount of people who partake in this activity.

    -Karan

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  2. I agree with Karan that this is a great move! This local event is not necessarily about dads becoming moms, but about the emergence of the modern man. "The modern woman" as we have come to know it is characterized by a self-sufficient, independent woman who can balance a career and family life if she chooses, but is not dependent on a man. So why should a man depend on a woman for household chores or a good home cooked meal? As women become more independent, I think that men are also becoming forced to be independent in some ways. Men no longer go from their mother's care to a wife's who will do all of their cooking, cleaning, and laundry for them - as men and women marry later in their lives, men are spending more time on their own and having to take care of themselves.

    Men should feel proud to embrace cooking. As many men probably will find out, a man who can cook is also very attractive to women. I don't think the decline in ad sales is a gender issue - I believe the food industry is trying to be more creative and using web-based marketing instead of magazines. But perhaps there is another problem: maybe the ads or magazines aren't catering enough to a growing audience: men! Of course female and mom-targeted ads are not appealing to men, but like Karan said manufacturers can use this opportunity to target the male demographic. To add to the cool factor, they have also recruited chefs from some of the most popular restaurants in NYC such as Tertulia, Kin Shop, and ABC Kitchen.

    Another good point that Karan made is that the younger generations aren't as afraid of being or seeming immasculine. This is a generation that has embraced the skinny jean, longer hairstyles, and even spa services. It's also a lot more accepted and popular for men to be health conscious. If there was ever a time for a men's cooking school, it's now.

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  3. Mens’ health magazine has traditionally geared towards men’s physical health and eating habits for a healthier lifestyle. Personally, I think it makes a lot of sense to start cooking classes given the trend of men taking on more responsibilities at home.

    In today’s economy, it’s vital to learn easy and inexpensive cooking techniques that anyone can master at home – including men.

    In response to food ad pages dropping, this may be due to the cyber age and fear of recession. It is much cheaper to get recipes and information on line versus a magazine; however I would think that hands on experience from top chefs in a learning environment is a preferred method of learning.

    Karina

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  4. I think these initiatives are very smart for Men's Health Magazine. Today men are in the kitchen more than ever, they are more health conscious and want to contribute to the family in a creative way. I'm a big fan of the Food Network and see many shows that are either hosted by men or geared towards men. Bobby Flay was one of the first TV chefs and was quickly followed by some of the most influential men in the cooking world, such as Geoffrey Zakarian and Alton Brown. A health men's magazine can perhaps partner with these stars to get more attention from guys who already cook.

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  5. It does seem like a strong idea, for many of the reasons pointed out above: the blurring of gender lines in household duties, families tightening their spending, the rise of the male celebrity chef. I know guys my age (Gen X) who routinely post stuff they're cooking on Facebook, take pizza-making classes, that kind of stuff.

    Anna's point about the celebrity chefs makes me think that one angle might be to focus on teaching flashy, restaurant-style presentation. Or cooking with unusual, surprising ingredients--the "cooking as an extreme sport" thing popularized by Iron Chef and Anthony Bourdain.

    Karan has a good point that there might be a market for more male-skewed kitchen gadgets. Don't they already sell us a lot of the same grooming products, superficially designed to look more masculine? Since having kids I've thought that there's probably a similar market for baby gear skewed to guys.

    One thing I would be curious about is the makeup of Men's Health's readership. Are they reaching a wide cross-section of guys young and old? Is their readership mostly made up of young guys who want to attract women, or older guys who want to stave off a heart attack? Is it predominantly gay? (Is it an outdated stereotype that gay men tend to be more health conscious than heterosexual family men? I don't know).

    -Kevin Kobasic

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  6. The mens cooking world is long over due. My old roommate (a women) would watch food related shows and all the hosts I could every remember are men except for a few (Paula, Marta, and Racheal Ray). When I was younger and my mother would watch cooking shows all I could remember is the Fugal Gourmet on WLIW. Men have always been on the from lines of cooking shows.
    Why shouldn't there be a magazine that is feature for this upcoming demographic of the home. I think that this is a great idea. If it is featured for men it will perhaps make so of the men who feel a bit less masculine because they are no longer the bread winner feel like they are not alone and it is okay to be a stay at home dad.
    Men's Health Magazine is making a great decision with creating a new facet for their primary reader which could lead to many other money generating projects other than the cooking school.

    ~Chris

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  7. I agree that men are no longer separate from the kitchen. Emeril comes to mind as a chef who seemed to gear his show towards men, as far back as the early 90s. His appeal to men seems to be that cooking was simple "bam" and masculine. The target male was probably the more traditional man who went from mother's care to his wife's as someone commented earlier.

    Today's man has changed and so has the role of women. It's common to see men that cook and women who don't. Gender lines have blurred and there's no longer a direct correlation with cooking responsibilities and expectations.

    For this reason, I think that the cooking section geared towards men is a good idea. However I don't really understand what "men's cooking" even means? Traditionally it meant barbecue. What is men's cooking in today's society?

    I'm curious to see what the issue puts forth. Foodies are gender neutral and I think that a focus on good quality food should be the appeal, rather than the target male reader.

    To answer Prof. Lehrer's question, yes, I think men are already taking over cooking "chores" but I don't think that a men's cooking magazine is the way to go.

    Jeeyoung

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  8. According to a 2008 NPD study done by The NPD Group, a leading provider of consumer and retail information, “more men are cooking than ever before”. This study goes on to say, “There is a greater chance than anytime in history that the man of the household will be cooking dinner tonight. According to this study, 67 percent of men under age 25 will prepare at least one of the next 10 meals. (Business Wire, 2008)

    Information gathered by The University of Michigan, which has been tracking 3,000 Gen Xers for 25 years as part of the Longitudinal Study of American Youth, finds that, “while young married women report cooking 51 meals a month, their husbands are catching up: They cook, on average, a whopping 34 monthly meals. That works out to roughly eight meals a week cooked by men” (Duane, 2012).

    This information suggests that men are cooking more, therefore they are becoming an emerging market for food related items. Research done by Allrecipes indicated that 70 percent of men were more interested in visiting a men's food site than a general food site (PR Newswire 2010). This information implies that men rather look for food related content in male specific mediums. For these reasons, it is a good idea for men’s magazines to take advantage of this trend. Men’s magazines give Ad companies the perfect forum to reach this clearly and narrowly defined audience. This will allow the Ad companies to craft better strategies that will motivate this niche market into purchasing items. Consequently, this strategy will lead to increases in ad revenue for the magazines.

    Rhon

    Business Wire (March 2008). “NPD Study Finds More Men Cooking Than Ever Before”. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.library.nyu.edu:34344/docview/444661455/abstract?accountid=12768

    Duane, Daniel. (2012). “A Real Man's Place Is in the Kitchen; Not changing diapers or giving the kids a bath--or doing anything that takes away from play time with knives”. The Wall Street Journal (Online). Retrieved from http://ezproxy.library.nyu.edu:34344/pqcentral/docview/1014402225/137229075FD8D3DE52/3?accountid=12768

    PR Newswire (March 2010). “Surprising Research Shows Men Like Cooking More Than Women; #1 Food Site Allrecipes.com Responds With New Cooking Site Exclusively for Men: ManTestedRecipes.com is First Social Food Site to Focus Solely on Contributions and Cooking Interests of Men”. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.library.nyu.edu:34344/pqcentral/docview/450130610/1372299B8F3602E9788/3?accountid=12768

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  9. I find it great that Men's Health is planning a Men's cooking magazine “Guy Food Guide”. I think that the first thing that needs to be said is that cooking, which for so long was considered “woman’s work,” is no longer the case. We now have celebrity chefs all over the media and many of them are men. (Emeril Legasse, Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri) It also needs to be noted that with the economy in a shambles and unemployment still very high, cooking meals at home is a heck of a lot more economical that eating out every night.
    I am as of the last six months among the unemployed and a stay at home dad. Since I am in school now, my wife who is currently looking for work will sooner have a job than I will. So I am slowly taking over many of the chores that she normally was doing when I was at work including cooking. So I think that it would greatly benefit my life if I could go to a men’s magazine geared towards cooking.
    As a man, I am also very into the whole gadget thing just like many of my peers. Any apps, magazines on the tablet computer or cell phone and other tools that I could pick up would bolster my desire and ability to cook and would be quite welcome. What a great way to market new products. Think of high tech meat thermometers, high tech egg timers, cuisinarts and blenders geared toward men and infinite other possibilities. They could be marketed on TV during ball games and even on the scoreboards at live games as well as at Home Depot.
    I think there is one caveat, however. Based on my own experience, if the magazine is going to be successful, the recipes have to be very simple and easy. I know that I personally would have a difficult time cooking complex recipes that would take half of a day to prepare. And even though most of the celebrity chefs on TV are men and they do make these ornate meals, they have been cooking much longer than I and many other men have been. I know I would have a hard time replicating those recipes in an hour or two as is shown on the Food Network, which my wife and I watch all the time now. So I do think there is indeed a market for a men’s magazine geared toward cooking and I think that if done right, it could be very successful. I am actually chomping at the bit right now to get home tonight and plan my family’s next meal. I can’t wait to by my first New York Jets egg timer. J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets!!!

    Jason S. Grant

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  10. I'm not a Men's Health reader, but if the quality of these articles/recipes is high, I could potentially subscribe. The notion that the kitchen is solely the women's space is incredibly outdated, and I'd even call it ridiculous. It doesn't account for a gigantic demographic: single men. Single Men's Health readers not only will want to cook to save money, eat healthy, for pleasure, etc., but how about the other reason: to impress women? It's safe to say that a large % of women are attracted to men who cook, and do it well.

    I'd ignore the decreased ad spending in traditional cooking magazines, Men's Health is a different publication type with its own subscription base. They could see different results with the trend, and if they get some positive press, it could even increase ad spending. A good move for the magazine.

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    Replies
    1. While I am not a subscriber to Men’s Heath, I have read the magazine on several occasions and used their iPad app from time to time. I think expanding a cooking section of the magazine is a fantastic idea and goes along with the core message, which is to improve well-being health through fitness, attire and, of course, diet. While Men’s Health may focus on healthier, high-protein/low-carb receipts to correspond with workout regimen, other magazines that focus more on men’s culture, such as GQ and Esquire, can expand upon the idea and offer more extensive creations, such as “Create the Perfect Meal for an At-Home Date.”

      I don’t believe the drop in ad pages for traditional cooking magazines will have a direct connection to increased cooking features in men’s magazines, as each likely has a totally different readership – fitting different demographics and psychographics. As previous comments pointed out, men are no longer going from their mother’s care to their wife’s care. Being self-sufficient and learning how to cook a real meal (not frozen food or Hamburger Helper) is becoming an integral part of growing up for men. We take pride in the meals we prepare. Readers of men’s magazines are looking for entertainment, but also self-improvement techniques. New styles, workout routines and even cooking tips.

      Jeff Stillman

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