As of January 2010 Foods Matter magazine will cease to exist – but all that currently goes into the magazine, and much, much more, will become freely available on the Foods Matter website at www.foodsmatter.com. Foods Matter Editor Michelle explains. ~ "Yes – after nearly 20 years of newsletters and magazines, Foods Matter is finally going to bite the bullet and move fully into the 21st century. We are going to be entirely web based! While many of you will see this as an exciting new move with massive potential and possibilities, I know that there will also be many of you who will mourn the passing of the magazine. So let me try to explain why we are doing it …
Ever since we rebuilt our website 18 months ago I have been aware that the web was infinitely better suited to what we want to do (disseminate information and provide support) than a 32, or even 48 page monthly printed magazine.
There are absolutely no space constrictions so we can offer visitors access to all of the knowledge and information which we have accumulated over 20 years of working with allergic people.
The search facilities within the site allow visitors immediate access to information on their particular subject of interest.
The linking possibilities of the web allow us to direct visitors, at the press of a key, to truly mind-boggling numbers of research reports, articles, products and other sites that could be useful in their search for information and support.
In terms of support, our 18 forums, launched in January of this year, and covering all of the conditions that we cover in the magazine and on the site, allow visitors to communicate fully and instantly with others with
similar interests, concerns, problems – and solutions – in a way that makes the magazine’s monthly ‘newsboard’ look, and feel, like something out of the ark!
The forums now have over a hundred regular ‘posters’ who seek and give advice, retail their experiences and offer suggestions to others. The food allergy and intolerance forum alone has had over 7,000 visitors in the last few months, and both the eczema and coeliac disease forums nearly 5,000 each. And as more people find out about the forums, so the visitor numbers will start to grow dramatically. Far from being impersonal or ‘geeky’, the forums are hugely personal with discussions, sometimes quite heated, pringing up between ‘posters’ and friendships made between those with similar problems. Please check it out for yourselves by going to site (www.foodsmatter.com) and clicking on ‘forums’ in the green horizontal bar at the top of the page – or by going direct via http://tinyurl.com/4q4yld.
Although some sites (including, unfortunately, many of the medical sites) do charge subscriptions, we have always given free access to all the information on our website and intend to continue that way.
The digital option
I know that many of you will be very sad to see the magazine go – and I do entirely sympathise in as much as I too would prefer to be able to take a magazine off to read with my morning coffee than to have to read it on screen. However, the way we are proposing to go does not mean that you will only be able to access the material on screen.
Although I am sure that many other new ideas will spring up as we develop the site, our initial plan is to continue to commission articles, to report on research, to invent recipes, to try new products, to stage freefrom tastings and host giveaways and offers just as we always have. They will merely go straight onto the website rather than going up there two months after appearing in the magazine.
To ensure that everyone who is interested knows exactly what new material has appeared on the site we will be producing regular email newsletters which will list and link you directly to all the new items so that you will be able to read the ones that interest you on screen – or print them out and read them with your coffee!
Meanwhile, there are still four more issues of Foods Matter to go, which we hope you will enjoy – while experimenting with our website ready for the big launch on New Year’s Day 2010!"
To keep up to date on the happenings with Foods Matter Magazine, check back on their website, www.foodsmatter.com, or email them (at info-at-foodsmatter-com) with your email address to sign up in advance for the upcoming e-newsletters.