Ahold set to launch ‘game-changing’ magazine

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Ahold USA said Tuesday it is launching a free magazine and digital content platform called Savory — Fast, Fresh and Easy, designed to help customers prepare more fresh and healthy meals.

During a presentation to vendors in Chicago Tuesday night, Jan van Dam, Ahold USA’s EVP, marketing, format, own brands, supply chain and ecommerce, said Savory offers “a 360-degree meals platform that will deliver something the channel has not seen before. It’s virtual meets physical, and we think it will be game-changing for Ahold, our customers and our vendors. We believe we can make this as big as we want to make it.”

The format of the magazine is based on Allehande, a magazine Ahold-owned Albert Heijn stores in the Netherlands has been publishing for more than 30 years, Shirley Axe, one of the magazine’s editors, told SN Tuesday evening.

Allehande means “a little bit of everything” in Dutch, Axe pointed out, while Savory “refers to the idea that the recipes and meals offered in the publication “will make readers’ mouths water,” she explained.

The first edition will be available in all formats beginning June 14.

The first edition will be available in all formats beginning June 14.

The first edition will be available in stores, online and via smartphone and tablet devices, beginning June 14, the company said.

Axe said the company plans to issue the magazine four times this year — in August, October and November after next week’s first edition — but six times a year beginning in 2016.

In a press release, Amy Hahn, SVP, marketing, said, “Savory was designed to help make every day a little fresher, a little easier and a little more delicious for our busy customers. It is a go-to guide with recipes and meal solutions that will help customers save time, save money, and eat well.”

The first issue is a 120-page, full-color publication highlighting grilling favorites and recipes for summer meals. The company said regular features will include budget-friendly meals; recipes to cook once and eat twice; meals that can be made in 15 minutes; recipes for meals that cost $10 per meal; new twists on old favorites; questions and answers with a nutritionist, and a “Take 5” feature that offers five ingredients for a fast meal.

Items used in recipes will be tied to store promotions, with products tagged to make it easier to find, the company said.

The magazine will be displayed in shippers at the entrance to the chain’s stores and also in the magazine aisle, Axe said. Customers will also be able to access it through the websites of each of the chain’s banners or by downloading a free app that will be available upon launch for Apple, Android, Kindle and Windows devices.

Axe said the company intends to add a cooking app in the near future that will allow consumers to watch up to 48 videos per issue demonstrating step-by-step how to make the meal, with the ability to stop the video whenever they want during the preparation process. Recipes in the print edition will indicate if they have a video attached, she pointed out.

Future issues, like the first one, will also feature 120 pages, Axe said — “part of the value equation for customers,” she explained — with 80 pages of content and 40 pages of ads, “and if we don’t sell enough ads, we’ll fill those pages with content,” she added.

Ahold is selling ads to CPG companies, and a third party is selling external ads to local businesses surrounding each of the company’s four divisions, including medical facilities, insurance companies and car dealerships, Axe said.

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