Condé Nast’s Epicurious Cuts Beef From the Menu “For the Planet”
Condé Nast's popular online food publication Epicurious is cutting beef from the menu. In what appears to be the first major mainstream publication to make such a move, Epicurious' editorial message announced it would no longer feature beef. In fact, the editors revealed they had cut beef from menus and articles six months ago, and only now called attention to it.
The shift away from red meat towards a more plant-based model is being done for environmental concerns, the editors explained, though they did not further delve into why beef is out, while poultry, pork, and dairy still get the nod. The Condé Nast publication won’t be restricting its content to a fully plant-based approach, it will no longer feature any beef products in its recipes, newsletters, social media, or online articles, in an effort to bring attention to the environmental damages of factory farming.
“For any person–or publication–wanting to envision a more sustainable way to cook, cutting out beef is a worthwhile first step,” Senior Editor Maggie Hoffman and former Digital Director David Tamarkin explained. “We know that some people might assume that this decision signals some sort of vendetta against cows–or the people who eat them. But this decision was not made because we hate hamburgers [we don’t]. Instead, our shift is solely about sustainability, about not giving airtime to one of the world’s worst climate offenders. We think of this decision as not anti-beef but rather pro-planet.”
The decision to remove beef will primarily impact the future content from the publication rather than revise past posts that include it. Epicurious will still maintain an archive of articles published in 2019 and before and will continue to include other animal products in its recipes and articles, despite evidence that all factory farming generates enormous carbon emissions and not only beef farming. Removing beef will be a transition for the publication, reflecting the changing values and concerns of its readers.
“Of course, when it comes to the planet, eschewing beef is not a silver bullet, Hoffman and Tamarkin continued. “All ruminant animals [like sheep and goats] have significant environmental costs, and there are problems with chicken, seafood, soy, and almost every other ingredient. In a food system so broken, almost no choice is perfect.”
The announcement comes alongside Epicurious’s eye-opening reveal that it actually stopped showcasing beef products more than a year ago. The brand decided to remove beef from its publication to test the popularity of plant-based meat stories, which impressed the editors. Yesterday's story on IG featured a vegan pasta sauce with white beans.
“Epi’s agenda is the same as it has always been: To inspire home cooks to be better, smarter, and happier in the kitchen,” the editors said. “The only change is that we now believe that part of getting better means cooking with the planet in mind. If we don’t, we’ll end up with no planet at all.”
Epicurious’s shift shows how plant-based diets and climate change are rapidly gaining attention in popular media. Hoffman and Tamarkin hope that the decision to remove beef from their publication will inspire brands across the media industry. Epicurious released a question and answer guide that helps explain the publication’s decision to cut beef from its pages so that readers can fully understand the decision.