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“70% of all time spent by Italians on cookery sites”: How Giallozafferano cornered Italian cuisine

Our recently launched report, Innovators in Specialist Media Europe (Consumer Media Edition) dives deep into twenty hugely innovative, and successful, European media companies. In this extract we look at Giallozafferano (part of Mondadori), which has successfully embraced Italians’ taste buds, no easy feat. P.S. Our free-to-download report is available now.

Spaghetti, pizza and lasagne are cherished worldwide and Italian restaurants are ubiquitous in most towns and cities. But in the nation itself, where do Italians go to get their culinary inspiration? Enter Giallozafferano, an Italian food publisher that has cornered the market by working with food creators to provide recipes in Italian and English to a 60M global fan base.

Headquartered in Milan with 40 staff, Giallozafferano is part of the wider Mondadori Media group which was founded in 1907 by Arnoldo Mondadori and soon became one of the best-known Italian book publishers, as well as publishing several traditional food magazines. Fast forward almost 100 years and in 2006 Mondadori launched its Giallozafferano website followed ten years later by a monthly magazine in 2017, a mobile app, a food blogger site, and finally, a TV show.

The secret to Giallozafferano’s success is not hard to dissect – it made Italian food accessible to everyone with simple, tested, easy to make recipes, alongside featured content from food creators and chefs. Moreover, rather than approach its audience from a lofty ‘expert’ vantage point, it embraced food lovers and cooks of all standards by cleverly leveraging social media.

Indeed, it is Giallozafferano’s harnessing of social media that stands out. Yes, the publisher has the usual account presence you might expect from a food publisher – Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, as well as 2.6M YouTube subscribers – but it has gone three steps further in its social media engagement.

In 2021 it started to collaborate with 50 social media food creators and launched the GZ food creator award, and in tandem launched an English site starting with 500 video recipes. In January 2022 it then acquired FoodQood, a food influencer with 24M followers on TikTok and rebranded it GZ FoodQood.

This year Giallozafferano has been just as active and launched a competition “Become a food creator” with Italian cooking school Alma to “discover new talents in the world of chefs who are capable of communicating cuisine in innovative ways”. Most surprisingly of all, it has even launched a talent agency for social media food creators, Zenzero.

Business impact

  • 70% of all time spent by Italians on cookery sites is with Giallozafferano.
  • 20 million users a month for its Italian site.
  • English site has 25 million followers and is the world #4 on social media.
  • Giallozafferano brand has 60 million followers worldwide (Comscore Mar 2023).
  • Recipes receive hundreds of comments, providing data on changing tastes.

Lessons for other publishers

  1. Collaborate with social media content creators – and nurture the community through
    competitions and a talent agency.
  2. Reader engagement provide valuable data on trends.

The above case study is one of twenty featured in our latest report, Innovators in Specialist Media Europe (Consumer Media Edition). Other examples include Berlingske Media, De Groene Amsterdammer, DECO PROTeste, Exponential View, Freeda Media, Monocle, and many others. Written by Carolyn Morgan, the free-to-download report is available now.