November 10, 2003 10:14 AM PST

AOL finds Time for food

America Online has cooked up an agreement with sister company and magazine publisher Time Inc. to devote a portion of AOL's Web portal to eating.

The giant Internet service provider said Monday that it will tap into Time's expertise to create AOL Food, a new area of content available to registered users of its online network. AOL and Time are both owned by media conglomerate Time Warner.

The AOL Food section will feature advice and recipes taken from Time publications such as Real Simple, Cooking Light, Southern Living, Health, Sunset and Coastal Living, as well as information from Oxmoor House, the publisher's cookbook division. Content from Time holdings Food & Wine, In Style, Parenting and Essence magazines will also become available in the future.

AOL representatives said the section was launched as part of its emerging "life management" effort to meet growing interest in food-oriented content among its users, specifically women. Tina Sharkey, senior vice president for Life Management and Community at AOL, estimated that more than 60 percent of the ISP's customers are women and said these users are hungry for the new content.

"AOL Food exemplifies our new Life Management programming approach to providing solutions for everyday living," Sharkey said in a statement. "We took a close look at what our members want--the things they need to get them through the day--and food was one of the most important touch points."

In order to promote the new effort across its Web pages, AOL said the food-related content would appear throughout 12 areas of its portal, including Health, Women, Living, Parenting and its search engine. The company said the food section would include a database of recipes, the ability to store personalized menus, an automated Kitchen Assistant and food-specific search capabilities.

The most high-tech aspect of the section is the Kitchen Assistant, a customizable tool that surveys AOL members' personal preferences and dietary needs in order to make meal recommendations. The AOL Food section also features an area dubbed Real Simple Kitchen that offers advice on organizing, cleaning and equipping a kitchen culled from the Time publications. An online Food Talk section is designed to allow users to rate and review recipes, share ideas via instant-messaging software and message boards and participate in site polls.

 

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