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Celebrating 20 years of Woolworths TASTE

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Case study: Woolworths TASTE

Woolworths’ early recognition of the power of content marketing laid the foundation for enduring success.

Launched in 2003 by New Media, Woolworths TASTE has become a cornerstone of South African food culture. It has not only thrived for 20 years but also evolved into a multi-channel platform reaching over 800 000 people monthly.

By prioritising editorial integrity and fostering a collaborative relationship, Woolworths and New Media have created a brand that connects deeply with its audience.

The challenge

Launched in 2003 with the ambitious goal of becoming “the best food magazine in the world”, Woolworths TASTE predated the digital revolution sparked by Facebook. As the world increasingly went online, Woolworths faced the challenge of adapting their food content strategy to not only promote their offerings but also engage and inspire a wider audience.

The very first issue of Woolies TASTE, which went on shelves in the summer of 2013
The 20th birthday issue of TASTE, which dropped in September 2023

The solution

Woolworths embraced a multi-channel approach that included video, newsletters and an online community. This expansion allowed TASTE to stay relevant and engage with its audience across various touchpoints.

While working with Woolworths’ food experts to ensure alignment with brand values and offerings, the TASTE team maintained their editorial independence, focusing on curated, credible content rather than corporate messaging. The content increasingly reflected South Africa’s diverse demographics and showcased real food solutions for everyday cooks.

The results

Woolworths TASTE emerged not only as a local culinary authority but also as an international award winner. With 66 cross-platform awards to its name, including 31 international accolades since 2012, TASTE has solidified its position as a global leader in food media.

The team’s commitment to authentically representing South Africa’s demographic diversity has earned TASTE a dedicated following.

  • Total audience across all channels: +/ 900 000
  • Bi-monthly copies sold: 34,077
  • Unique browsers on TASTE.co.za in July 2023: +/- 300 000
  • Social media fans: +/- 500 000
TASTE’s TikTok channel amassed over 225 000 followers in its first year

We are incredibly proud to have published TASTE so successfully for 20 years. An award winner from launch, TASTE has never faltered in terms of commercial success or content excellence. It has defied declining newsstand figures and, in the face of some of the most difficult years for both SA and the world, the brand has only become more trusted, and the audience bigger as new channels are introduced. It’s no coincidence that TASTE has notched up no fewer than 17 international awards in the past two years, as well as two of the highest-selling issues in over a decade. It’s a remarkable achievement and testament to a winning partnership.”

Elizka Ferreira, Head of Foods Marketing: Woolworths
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