Biz Brief: Food Companies Up Ad Spending

While many marketers continue to tighten their belts in the rough economy, at least one segment of the print advertising industry is more than willing to spend. Large food manufacturers -- ConAgra (CAG), General Mills (GIS), and Hershey (HSY), among others -- combined to up their ad spending by 12.4 percent in the year's first quarter.

Looking to take advantage of such robust spending, two divisions of publishing behemoth Advance Publications, Parade and Condé Nast, are teaming up on a new food title, Dash, which will launch as a website in September and soon after will be included as a supplement in 100 newspapers across the country, reaching eight million readers. Though it may seem odd that Condé Nast, which folded Gourmet last fall, is now launching a new food magazine, it makes more sense when one considers that newspaper readers account for 72 percent, or $14 billion, of the weekly groceries sold nationally.

Dash will be competing against a crowded field of recipe books, including the Food Network Magazine and Every Day With Rachel Ray. More directly it will be up against another newspaper-based publication, Relish, put out by the Publishing Group of America. Since launching in 2006, Relish has gone from a circulation of 6 million in 300 newspapers, to 15.5 million in 845 papers.