Helena Lang
Content Director



Thirty years of food expertise

Thirty years of food expertise

Helena Lang
Content Director

Helena Lang, Content Director at 7C3, explains how 30 years of expertise can help people love your food brand

The British cook has a lot to thank Delia Smith for. The TV host and cookbook writer’s casual recommendations meant we discovered that fresh cranberries make the best sauce for Christmas (sales rose by 200% in 2005 when she included them in a recipe), investing in the ultimate omelette pan produces a perfect eggy lunch every time (orders for one she used leapt from 200 a year to 90,000 in four months), and that having a box of heavenly Maldon Crystal Salt Flakes in our cupboards makes all the difference to taste and flavour (after featuring on a list of Delia’s foodie must-haves).

But did you know that Delia, along with journalist husband Michael Wynn-Jones, also founded the food-establishment favourite, Sainsbury’s magazine, 30 years ago?

Since the magazine launched in 1993, many millions of copies of Sainsbury’s magazine have been bought by the grocery retailer’s customers, and the magazine remains Britain’s biggest-selling food title on the newsstand and has more readers than any monthly glossy title in the UK.

Of course, nowadays it’s not just a physical object that you peruse over your morning coffee, tearing recipes out as you go – although thousands of readers still do that. Here at 7C3, we have built it out into a multi-platform food media brand with a hugely successful recipe website (sainsburysmagazine.co.uk), a record-breaking email newsletter, and an Instagram channel that’s followed by all the great and the good in the food industry, as well as tens of thousands of Britain’s keenest cooks.

With its outstanding heritage at the core, there is now a highly skilled team of editors, designers, digital experts and, of course, exceptional home economists.

So, what is the secret to its continued success? Primarily, it’s our unrivalled food expertise. Back in the 90s, Delia insisted that everyone on the magazine’s food team had been professionally trained at a top culinary school, and that continues. Understanding how a recipe works is fundamental in knowing how to communicate it the right way to an audience who usually have less experience and confidence in the kitchen.

Delia’s instructions also included that a recipe be tested by qualified home economists a minimum of three times, so readers could be sure that the recipe will work – another tradition that continues. Testing recipes is time consuming and expensive, but it’s worth it so that our audience doesn’t have to invest their own time and money only to be faced with a cake that doesn’t rise or a meal that’s a disaster. You only need to disappoint a cook once for them never to trust you again.

But today our food team are more than just slaves to the test kitchen. They also develop their own recipes, taking inspiration from the seasons, trends, new ingredients and the continuous changes in our lifestyle. They shoot Reels and TikToks, and work with influencers, chefs and TV stars to produce content that is relevant, current and engaging.

When we celebrated the magazine’s birthday on Instagram, comments went into overdrive: ‘Some of my favourite go-to recipes have been from Sainsbury’s magazine’; ‘My family have enjoyed decades of delicious meals’; ‘What a great trip down memory lane’. Whilst other readers emailed to say: ‘I’ve been collecting the magazine since October 1994’; ‘You could call me an addict’; and ‘Thank you for providing so much pleasure’.

Sainsbury’s magazine has, in common parlance, been on quite a journey since its launch, but at its heart it continues to deliver best-in-class food content wherever and whenever the customer needs it. And we even managed to squeeze in some classic Delia recipes into our birthday issue, because a big part of looking forward into the future of food content is acknowledging the skills and expertise that are part of our amazing heritage here at 7C3. 

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