BBC set to close food website and recipe archive

The BBC is to close its Food website and the future of its news magazine is in doubt as part of plans to save £15 million.

Published 17th May 2016
Updated 9 th Aug 2023

Around 11,000 recipes will be lost under the review of online services, which head of news and current affairs James Harding will brief staff about on Tuesday.

Areas expected to be discussed by Mr Harding include the magazine section of the BBC News website and the BBC News channel.

The news magazine, launched in 2003, includes a range of more in-depth articles and has been singled out by some politicians and national newspapers as an example of the BBC going beyond its remit on its news website.

The BBC said online services had to be "high-quality, distinctive, and offer genuine public value".

"While our audiences expect us to be online, we have never sought to be all things to all people and the changes being announced will ensure that we are not," the corporation said.

Recipes from TV programmes will remain online for 30 days.

An online petition to save the BBC's recipe archive has attracted more than 17,500 supporters - with numbers rapidly rising - as campaigners called it a "precious resource" for people.

It said: "The database provides inspiration for those with a few ingredients to come up with meal ideas and cook from scratch.

"When the Government is trying to promote healthy eating, surely it is madness to remove such a comprehensive archive which has taken years to create, not to mention time and money."

The plans are not thought to involve services run by BBC Worldwide, the corporation's commercial arm, including BBC Good Food, which charges for some recipes and is not paid for through the licence fee.

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The announcement follows the publication of a government White Paper on the future of the BBC, which sets out a long-term plan for the corporation, including maintaining the licence fee.

Anti-poverty campaigner Jack Monroe announced plans earlier this month to publish her recipes from the website on a blog,, saying: "I learned to cook on the dole using free recipes online and for the BBC to reduce this vital service is an abomination."

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