Chefkoch: Germany's biggest cooking website becomes a magazine

Text: Adriane Schuster; Pictures: Chefkoch

With more than 250,000 recipes and about 13 million visitors, Chefkoch.de is the food website with the widest coverage across Europe. However, Chefkoch.de has become much more! Chefkoch.de has a broad range of communications channels beyond its successful webpages. In addition it has a popular Twitter account, mobile app and a Facebook page.

In October 2013, Gruner + Jahr published the first edition of the Chefkoch magazine with an initial print run of 150,000 copies. This transformation built not only an additional extension of the brand but also a bridge into the offline world. Within a short space of time, Chefkoch ranks among one of the most respected cooking magazines, presenting the fifty most popular and best rated online-recipes on a monthly basis. 


The creation of the magazine, which balances perfectly between online and offline, is relatively unique. In comparison to Chefkoch.de the magazine offers several advantages: “Despite its countless benefits, the online platform also suffers a disadvantage: More than 250,000 recipes make the offer confusing. The volume of data is simply too big for just getting an inspiration. The magazine delivers this function perfectly by means of the recipes taken from Chefkoch.de. In doing so we trust our online community, this is Germany’s taste”, says Jan Spielhagen, Chief Editor at Chefkoch.

“According to a seasonal or regional motto, for instance, we present the most popular recipes in Germany in a clearly arranged way – every month. Therewith, we provide orientation for the reader in a direct comparison to the huge online selection. The dishes are cooked by professional chefs, upgraded with tips and tricks by the editorial team as well as the chefs, and put in the limelight in an appetizing way.“

The creation of such a balanced offer of delicious recipes and meeting its readers’ wishes and needs results in a peerless magazine.  
Moreover, Spielhagen sees a further important advantage in the visual world of the magazine: “Food photography plays an essential role in this segment. Nicely and, above all, delicately shot it provides an additional source of inspiration. This is not possible the same way online.“

Triumphal march of an online recipe: How a dish conquers a magazine

The editorial design of the magazine credibly and emotionally conveys a heartfelt passion for creative recipes and tasty dishes, which can mostly be cooked without great effort. “If a dish was clicked and rated more than 1.9 million times, then it has to be good”, says Spielhagen full of enthusiasm. “We pass the trust in these results on to our readers. This is what is so special about the brand as well as one of its success factors at the same time.”

He adds: “It is not surprising that since the first issue, Chefkoch has been able to assert itself in a highly competitive segment with a circulation of more than 100,000 copies and that we have increased the originally planned amount of issues of 10 up to 12 per year.”
Spielhagen also demonstrates that the Chefkoch team are not resting on their laurels either. “We are already working on first ideas. But I cannot tell much yet”, he adds.    
In addition the mobile version of Chefkoch.de, which is ranked among the ten strongest mobile websites in Germany, is consistently integrated and utilised within the magazine.

Through the integration of QR codes to every recipe, further added value is created. “When you go shopping on Saturday morning and see people looking closely at their mobile phones, it’s probably because they have downloaded a list of ingredients on Chefkoch.de or are checking it online in order to find the next product on the list”, says Jan Spielhagen with a smile. Together with the extremely positive feedback from the Chefkoch magazine readers via Facebook or Instagram, this true integration of print and online is well and truly proven.



Print vs. Online: Everything for the sake of the environment

The concept of Chefkoch is a prime example of successful and integrated 360° communications. But in addition to its tasty dishes and successful communication methods, the publishing house, as well as the magazine, remains committed to its responsibility in respect of its paper usage. 

Readers are increasingly better informed about environmental issues and actively ask for information. Therefore the right paper choice is a crucial factor for Chefkoch magazine. Gruner + Jahr has already been campaigning on the responsible use of wood fibre for several years, and now uses exclusively certified paper for its publications.  For Chief Editor Jan Spielhagen it was an affair of the heart to go for a certified paper. After already having gained positive experience with UPM paper with other GEO family magazines, the choice was not difficult: opacity, sound, colour development, haptics and what quality the paper suggests are important decision criteria for Jan Spielhagen.

For the reader there are conscious and unconscious quality criteria concerning paper. With magazines, the feel of a printed magazine can be a subconscious response for the reader. “We utilise exclusively UPM Ultra Matt G for Chefkoch”, says Spielhagen. The use of certified paper for Chefkoch is furthermore an indispensable criterion due to the readers’ distinctive online affinity. “I do not want to take the risk of a negative comment in the forum of Chefkoch.de owing to the use of non-certified paper”, Spielhagen continues.        

At Chefkoch, the offline and online world have been combined and no longer independent of each other. All channels are being integrated and provide clear added value for the user, whether on the computer at home, via the mobile app on the road or when searching for new recipes in the printed edition.  All of this has clearly served up Chefkoch.de as the most delectable brand.

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