Faith Kramer, Paper Palate – Can’t find the September issue of Vegetarian Times on your newsstand? Well, it might be because the publisher is doing a nationwide, two-issue, newsstand-only test of a renamed Vegetarian Times. Look for a publication called Greens, with an orange cover featuring a colorful pizza [sorry, the pizza isn't dairy-free, but the magazine is usually filled with tons of vegan recipes that are]. The cover also sports a big green oval with the words “from the editors of Vegetarian Times.” The subtitle is “Eat Fresh. Choose Organic. Be Healthy.”
The outside may be different, but inside the issue is the regular September 2007 issue of Vegetarian Times subscribers and those not in the test markets will receive.
Why the (temporary) name change? Spokeswoman Dayna Macy says the idea is to see if the name Vegetarian Times still resonates with the magazine’s readers and potential readers. Celine Bleu, a marketing director with Active Interest Media (AIM), publishers of Vegetarian Times, Yoga Journal and other special interest publications, says the name Greens was chosen because it is seen as relating well to life today. “Green living, green lifestyle and eating their greens” are all seen as desirable, Bleu says.
“When you have a brand, and it’s a venerable brand, after 30 years you take a look to see if that name still works,” Macy says. While the name could change depending on reader reaction, the magazine’s concepts and scope will not. Macy, communications director of AIM’s Healthy Living Group, reassures readers that even if a name change does eventually happen (and it very well might not), the periodical will never include articles on or advertising for beef, chicken, fish or other non-vegetarian foods.
The publication, which debuted in 1975, quotes a monthly circulation of 245,350 according to its on-line media kit for potential advertisers. About 84 percent of its subscribers are women. The median age of subscribers is 45.5. According to the website’s stats, the magazine’s readers are mostly college-educated homeowners. One surprise, only 40 percent of subscribers self identify as vegetarians.
While the AIM executives I spoke with didn’t address this, the test may be an attempt to reframe Vegetarian Times’ healthy lifestyle message and bring it to a younger audience or to people who have yet to make the association of vegetarianism with their attempts to live greener lives.
The September issue by any name is full of food and lifestyle features including articles on stocking your spice rack, learning how to blanch, braise and sauté, and taking care of your skin. There is also a profile of winemaker Peter Mondavi Jr. Mushrooms are showcased in the 1 Food 5 Ways section. The 5 Ingredients feature gives directions for “real meals you can cook in a dorm” and the Veg Lite department highlights “guilt-free” recipes for the Jewish New Year.