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Science-backed nutrition advice that works for everyday New Zealanders is the recipe for success behind Healthy Food Guide magazine.
The independently owned magazine is celebrating its 100th issue with the July 2013 edition and editor Niki Bezzant says it was a hit with readers right from the word go.
“When we started in 2005 there was a need for a common-sense, practical, credible guide to healthy eating to cut through the confusion many people were feeling about what was ‘healthy’,” Ms Bezzant says.
“It struck a chord with readers straight away, and grew rapidly in circulation over the years. Now, more than eight years on, Healthy Food Guide is one of NZ's top-selling titles.”
Ms Bezzant says the magazine’s success can be attributed to its non-negotiable fundamental philosophy: credible, science-based healthy eating advice and straightforward, easy and delicious recipes.
“We're not about the latest fad diet or food trend. We're about helping readers get a healthy dinner on the table every day. We're about nutrition advice we know works, backed by science. We're about small changes you can make every day, to eat better and be healthier,” she says.
“Every month we provide accurate and unbiased information about healthy eating. We're upfront about our editorial philosophy: it's right there on page six of every issue.”
Ms Bezzant has worked on the magazine since the beginning and has seen many different food trends and innovations. She says one of the reasons people really trust the magazine is because “we put our money where our mouth is when it comes to nutrition”.
“Every recipe goes through nutrition analysis in development and is worked on to make it as healthy as it can be. Recipes that don't meet our criteria don't make it into the magazine, and every recipe has a nutrition panel. We've made the recipes even healthier over the years. We're the only magazine that puts ‘vege serves’ on every recipe which tells you how the recipe contributes to your ‘5+’ a day.”
She says the magazine’s thousands of loyal readers provide “amazing” feedback.
“Over the years we've received heaps of comment from readers for whom the magazine has been a life-changing experience. People have lost weight - sometimes large amounts - by following our regular recipes rather than strict diets.
“Lots of young people have learned to cook from our pages. Lots of kids have become interested in cooking and learned to like vegetables from parents implementing our tips and ideas.”
Those in the industry freely admit it's not easy to make a splash in the competitive world of New Zealand publishing, especially when you are a small independent publisher.
Healthy Food Guide has done it and is now an international brand with versions published in Australia and the UK under licence.
“As far as we know we are the only New Zealand publisher to successfully take a consumer title overseas,” Ms Bezzant says. “Plus, we have iPhone apps, a strong social media presence and a website that attracts around 35,000 visitors a week.”
“For me the past eight years represent an incredibly rewarding experience,” Ms Bezzant says. “What we do feels really meaningful and that's because I feel like we help people, every day.
“To me what we do in Healthy Food Guide is solve problems; some small and everyday, others bigger and longer term. Which is incredibly fulfilling as a job. I feel really lucky,” she says.
· The 100th edition of Healthy Food Guide hits the newsstands on Monday 24 June and features the top 20 recipes from across 100 issues as voted by readers, nutrition essentials from 100 issues and the opportunity to win one of 100 prizes.
· Parent company Healthy Life Media also creates the Healthy Food Ideas TV commercials, runs the Gluten Free Food & Allergy Shows around New Zealand, and has recently launched two new magazines, Green Ideas and Allergy Today.