business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kate McMahon

Content Guy’s Note: Kate’s BlogBeat is a new ingredient in the MorningNewsBeat stew – a regular look at what people are talking about on the Internet, and how it impacts the conduct of business by retailers and manufacturers.

Note to self: Never research a column on food blogs on an empty stomach. You will wind up famished. Not to mention dizzied by the sheer multitude of food postings out there in the blogosphere.

The success of the hit summer movie “Julie & Julia” has elevated the status of food blogs to an all-time high. And it made a celebrity of Julie Powell, a neophyte blogger who began writing “Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen” and hit culinary paydirt with a book and a movie.

But for serious foodies, blogs have been the bread-and-butter of their social networking for the past five years. And a review of the burgeoning field and the most successful blogs is a revealing look at the shopping, cooking, and dining habits of regular folks and gourmands across the world.

And if you are a retailer, manufacturer, marketer or service provider catering to people who shop, cook and dine, you can glean valuable insights from this facet of social networking. It can tell you what people are thinking and doing now…and if you read the tea leaves correctly, it can help you figure out where they are going so you can be there to greet them and provide for their needs and whims.

Food blogs range from simple one-person recipe-and-tales-of-life postings to major food communities. (And while some Internet statisticians place blogs and commercially produced sites such as in the same category, I do not.)

Just how big are food blogs? You’d be amazed. Here are a few statistics:

• One of the leading food blog “communities,”, lists 9,903 blogs, 1,478,984 recipe posts, and 31,927 “foodie profiles.” The number of monthly unique visitors to the site more than tripled from 2 million in July 2008 to over seven million this past July.

• Started in 2006, Food Blog Search is a custom-built search engine from Google to find recipes from more 2,000 hand-selected participating blogs.

• and celebrates great food, restaurants, wine and spirits and cookware and boasts blogs galore.

•, an award-winning food community, is a compendium of blogs, commentary and slick video with local flavor and international appeal, which counts 1.5 million “serious eaters” in its camp.

But numbers are a small part of the story. Food blogs range from generic ( to esoteric ( There are blogs on every imaginable international cuisine, organic, vegan and gluten-free foods, blogs with tips on counting calories, saving money, using leftovers, preparing dinners for one or banquets for 50.

Some of the authors are amateurs who happen to love food, drink and entertaining, while others are professionals. The bloggers include teenagers, couples, and more than a few guys in the kitchen.

What they all share is a passion for food, and a commitment to sharing that passion with like-minded enthusiasts. The most successful blogs have a distinct voice and a real connection with their followers.

Sounds like a recipe for success in any business.

It also reaffirms that social networking is the new “back fence” and the conversations and recipe swaps that took place in the produce aisle or at the office water cooler are occurring on-line and around the world.

So next week’s column will highlight some of the most successful blogs and food communities, including some great suggestions from the MNB readership. Stay tuned.

You can reach Kate McMahon via email at .
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