In November 2018, SBS relaunched its free-to-air food channel as SBS Food. The channel is an evolution of SBS’s proud heritage in food, offering a broad range of programming with a focus on distinctive Australian content that explores the world through cooking, cuisine and culinary cultures. The channel continues to give all Australians unprecedented access to diverse food programming, championing fresh local talent and bringing much-loved foodie favourites back to TV.
Increased Australian programming
SBS Food continues to increase investment in local programs that explore the cultures and produce of Australia. This year there was a particular focus on sustainable food practices in regional areas, and a behind-the-scenes look at the wider food industry that supports Australia’s regional communities. Four local series premiered on the channel in 2018-19: Battle of the Vines, The Good Cooks, Born to Cook: Jack Stein Down Under - season 2 and Food Lab By Ben Milbourne - season 3.
The Good Cooks
In an innovative new series, SBS Food partnered with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) in Canberra to send six Aussie chefs to remote locations to learn how to cook like the locals. NITV’s Mark Olive prepared Tanzanian chicken under a giant boab tree, Paul West milled corn for porridge in Mozambique and Sarah Todd learned how to cook Fijian Fruit Lote in Nadi. The series is part cooking show, part travel show, and also explores the story of how Australia’s international aid is making a difference in the developing world. The Good Cooks reached more than 862,000 Australians in its premiere run on SBS Food.
Born to Cook: Jack Stein Down Under
In this series, British Chef, Jack Stein headed to the spectacular Kimberley region, with its red cliffs, blue skies and abundant fresh produce. In one of the most pristine areas in the world, Jack explored the local flavours and new ways of farming that are developing in the region. The second offering of this much-loved local series reached more than 480,000 Australians on SBS Food.
Local content partnerships
In April 2019, SBS Food announced a new series called Delicious Darwin, to be produced in partnership with the Northern Territory Government’s screen industry agency, Screen Territory. The series will be produced by Northern Territory production companies, 360 Degree Films and Indigo Productions. It will be hosted by Chinese-Sri Lankan and Northern Territorian chef Jimmy Shu who will offer an in-depth exploration into the culinary melting-pot that is Darwin. The program will broadcast in early 2020.
Reaching more Australians
SBS Food continues to reach a broad Australian audience, with more than four million Australians tuning in each month. The channel has increased engagement with online audiences through curated editorial and social content, which has seen Facebook and Instagram followers increase by 26 per cent and 35 per cent respectively. SBS Food remains a valuable way to reach new audiences and grow a more diverse SBS audience overall. The channel continues to generate a commercial return, enabling SBS to further invest in distinctive Australian content across the network.
SBS Food participates in food festivals around the country, including Taste Festival Sydney, Native Dining in The Rocks and Margaret River’s Gourmet Escape. These events allow the channel to engage directly with its national audience in a food-focused forum and give viewers the opportunity to connect personally with SBS Food on-air talent and initiatives. SBS Food will continue to support community events next year.