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Top Online Food and Cooking Destinations

Top Online Food and Cooking Destinations

Shoppers and Trends

May 25, 2008

Top Online Food and Cooking Destinations
Food Network is the most visited online food and cooking destination for the third year in a row, per Nielsen Online. Looking at the monthly unique audience figures for the top online food and cooking sites, it shows that 8,785,000 people visited the Food Network during the month of February 2008 – up from 8,068,000 visits in February 2007 and 7,232,000 visits in February 2006.
Runner-ups for February 2008 were Allrecipes with 6,169,000 visits, Food & Drink with 5,980,000 visits, Kraft Foods with 5,629,000 visits, AOL Food with 5,063,000 visits and with 4,957,000 visits. Repeat visitors were not counted more than once.
Jessica Hogue, Research Director, Consumer Product Goods for Nielsen Online, says that Food Network in particular is doing a great job of tapping into different trends, including the rise of foodie culture, an interest in cooking TV shows and reality shows, and the popularity of recipe search engines. Epicurious, another site commanding traffic at 2,615,000 visits, invites users to submit personal cooking videos. Kraft, for their part, is luring customers with online message boards.
Out of the top 20 destinations ranked by Nielsen Online, the top food sites for February 2008 were Kraft Foods, Pizza Hut with 3,744,000 visits, with 2,290,000 visits, Nestlé with 1,965,000 visits, and Betty Crocker with 1,928,000 visits. Top recipe sites included Food Network, Allrecipes,, Recipezaar,, and Network. The only retailer to make the top 20 was Kroger at 1,625,000 visits.
Interestingly, even though Food Network is the most visited site overall, it came in fourth in February 2008 for time spent on a food and cooking destination at 14 minutes and 23 seconds – down from 15 minutes and 25 seconds in 2006 and 15 minutes and 40 seconds in 2007. Pampered Chef took the top time spot for 2008 with 1 hour, 12 minutes and 33 seconds – up from 49 minutes and 9 seconds in February 2007. Coming in second for average time spent per person in 2008 was Domino’s Pizza at 16 minutes and 22 seconds.
Average time spent per person on the top six destinations in 2008 was 7 minutes and 37 seconds. Average time spent on the top 20 destinations in 2008 was 6 minutes and 23 seconds, up from 6 minutes and 9 seconds in February 2007.
Hogue says that time spent on a site is an indicator of engagement. More and more, food sites like Food Network and are giving consumers reasons to stay on longer, encouraging them to search for recipes, create their own recipe boxes, look at how-to videos and share their experiences. Meanwhile, retailers are doing their best to move beyond existing solely as a portal for store locator searches.
“Traditionally, online grocery sites are designed to be transactional, meaning that customers go on briefly to find things like an address or a coupon,” says Hogue. “Kroger is moving beyond that by providing some additional content in health and wellness and connecting recipe info to storable shopping lists. Retailers can follow this example and provide a real service to their customers by focusing on personalization.”
Indeed, according to Nielsen, searching for recipes is the most popular food-related online activity, and it appears that this trend is growing at a rapid pace. Hogue points out that as the online population in general has grown over the last three years, so has an interest in food and the culinary arts. At the route of this trend, she says, is a desire for social networking and the sense of community that online recipe-sharing provides.
“People feel empowered when they can share something great they’ve discovered with hundreds of users,” says Hogue. “These food sites allow users to build a community around something they are equally passionate about, while learning about other people’s triumphs and mistakes in the kitchen.”