Sara Lee Professional

Sara Lee Professional

Innovation / NPD / Brand positioning

Sara Lee’s frozen desserts catering arm was a traditional sales-based organisation. When the new MD joined he wanted to drive significant growth.

Our task was to scope the whole business and develop a marketing strategy and innovation that could revolutionise the company.

We interviewed the key managers across the organization and found the company was caught in a time-consuming trap of reacting to trade demands. This caused three issues:

  • customer demands weren’t focused on genuine consumer demands – their motivation was just to be different from their competitors – unsurprisingly the products were often short-lived failures
  • there was an explosion of SKUs and resulting complexity
  • the Sara Lee team was too busy meeting the demands of the trade to give real added value and develop genuinely new ideas

Our approach was to put the consumer, rather than the trade customer, at the heart of the business.

We carried out consumer qualitative research to find out where the real opportunities lay. We developed a consumer segmentation that provided the basis for the new ideas. Many of the opportunities were identified by considering the barriers.

For example, after a big meal many people are just too full to have a big dessert. Others considered desserts as the least healthy part of the meal and so avoided them. We developed a series of sub ranges to address the barriers and consumer needs.

For example a range of mini desserts to be served with coffee for those too full for a proper dessert. We developed a health-based fruit range. And at the other end of the scale we developed a range of complete ‘blow out’ desserts for the dessert addict.

We recommended a name change from Sara Lee Industrial to Sara Lee Professional.

The re-launch established Sara Lee as the experts in what consumers wanted / needed. This changed the whole power balance and Sara Lee was put into the lead position. Instead of the trade resenting this, they welcomed the expertise being shared with them and invited Sara Lee to consult with them on their menu development. Sara Lee had at last broken free of the continual trade demands that hampered their progress and became true leaders.

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