American Mass-Market Magazines

By Alan Nourie; Barbara Nourie | Go to book overview
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BON APPÉTIT

"Publishers have always been quick in sensing new interests within the public and then establishing new publications to cater to them." 1 Cleon T. (Bud) Knapp was quick in sensing America's food revolution of the 1970s. Bud Knapp, owner and chairman of Knapp Communications Corporation (publisher of Architectural Digest*), purchased a small food and beverage magazine called Bon Appétit from the Pillsbury Company in the mid-1970s 2 and, with the aid of a new editor Paige Rense, transformed this liquor store giveaway into one of America's most successful gourmet food magazines. 3

America's food revolution of the 1970s was due to many factors. A health and fitness craze was sweeping the country. The hippies of the 1960s were growing up and making money, yet they still wanted healthful and natural foods. Due to smaller families and two-income households, Americans had more money to spend. 4 The young urban professionals (yuppies) were discovering cooking as a way to spend their newly earned leisure dollars. Greater numbers of men, as well as the affluent, were discovering cooking for fun and entertainment. Other people were cooking as a way of rebelling against the country's fast-food restaurants. New products, such as food processors and microwave ovens, were saving people time and effort. 5 Even the recession of the 1970s helped popularize fine food and cooking: "Unable to make a down payment for a house, a couple happily pays $8 for a jar of gourmet mustard." 6

Bon Appétit began in 1956 as a free promotional magazine edited by James A. Shanahan and published by American Colortype Company of Chicago, Illinois. After years as a liquor store giveaway, and under various editors and publishers, 7 Bon Appétit was acquired by the Pillsbury Company in 1970. Pillsbury published Bon Appétit bimonthly, and over the next five years increased the magazine's paid circulation to 250,000, with 50,000 newsstand sales and

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