Branded merchandise has surged in demand this year as labels from Mucinex to Frito-Lay jump on the trend. However, one brand is marking two decades of selling brand products with the launch of its first cooking-themed collection.
The New York Times released its NYT Cooking collection based off of its fan-favorite recipe series. The NYT Cooking is a digital platform where subscribers can find recipes, cooking tips, and specialty recommendations for all types of occasions. As the holiday season gets into full swing, NYT Cooking will now include branded merchandise alongside its holiday recipes and meal ideas. The collection features clothing and accessories with popular sayings and catchphrases from its posts and content, which could help loyal readers feel more connected to the merchandise. Phrases such as “Future Times Food Critic” and “Generously Buttered Noodles” adorn pieces like baby bibs, sweatshirts, and aprons for consumers to purchase online. The specialty products will join a small array of other, longstanding products including cooking utensils and table stands used to hold a phone while a user reads a recipe.
With 600,000 daily subscribers to its channel, either online or on its app, NYT Cooking engages a large, dedicated audience. By selling branded merchandise the publisher could double down on its reader loyalty and build itself up against digital cooking strongholds like Food52 and Kitchn to grow its presence as an all-around cooking company. The New York Times previous success selling products for other features, including its at-home crossword puzzles or its Mother’s Day collections, could help replicate the success for its cooking channel and build up an additional revenue stream. With 35% of at-home consumers cooking more during the Coronavirus pandemic, the NYT Cooking collection could arrive at a prime time for sustaining interest in cooking and buying specialty products geared towards the craft. As consumers are also spending more time online, including when finding recipes according to a Gartner report, the clothing collection could also help NYT Cooking boost its digital footprint and reach consumers where they are.
The NYT Cooking collection shows how non-digitally native brands can adapt their presence to meet consumers where they are. By joining the branded merchandise trend, the company could grow its readership and revenue and stay top of mind with consumers online and in the kitchen.