If you want to see how the nation's foodmakers are weathering the recession, the proof is in the pudding. Kraft Foods, the nation's largest food maker, will no longer sell Handi-Snacks pudding to retail customers. Food companies from Sara Lee Food to H.J. Heinz are trimming their offerings to focus marketing dollars on their higher-margin, best-selling brands and retain consumers, who are trading down in the recession.
Tag: Sara Lee
Sara Lee Corp. is exploring a sale of its struggling North American bakery business and has asked its financial advisers to gauge interest from potential buyers, people familiar with the matter said. There has been no formal auction arranged and Sara Lee could decide not to dispose of the unit, which had $2.2 billion in annual sales, the people said. But the Downers Grove, Ill., company's advisers have selectively reached out to companies and private-equity firms that might be interested in the unit, which makes bread under the Sara Lee, Earth Grains and other brand names.
At a time when marketing executives are under pressure to measure the performance of and prove the effectiveness of their ads, Starcom USA, a media buying and planning company, says understanding emotional motivations for media choices may help consumer product companies deliver ads that motivate readers to consider their products.
Sara Lee Corp. said Wednesday that it plans to reduce the salt in many of its food products by an average of 20 percent over the next five years. The Downers Grove-based packaged food maker, known for its Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm and Ball Park brands, said it will cut salt in hot dogs, lunchmeat, breakfast foods, cooked sausage and its namesake bread.
Unilever PLC said Friday that it plans to buy Sara Lee's personal care unit for $1.87 billion in cash in an effort to boost its presence in Western Europe and in Asia. Unilever is a major Anglo-Dutch consumer products maker that owns well-known brands like Dove soap and Axe deodorant. "Personal care is a strategic category and a key growth driver for Unilever," said Unilever Chief Executive Paul Polman, in a statement. "The Sara Lee brands enjoy strong consumer recognition, offer significant growth potential and are an excellent fit."
It's going to be a cruel summer in advertising. Attack ads have been on the rise for the past year, but comparisons are getting sharper, responses are growing testier, and an increasing number of ad battles are ending up in court. Just don't expect a letup, because they're also working.
The packaged-goods outfit has unloaded 40% of its businesses and used the proceeds to invest in product lines with more growth potential.
Sara Lee is likely to have a tough time finding buyers for brands such as Kiwi shoe polish and Radox bubble bath as it explores a sale of its household and body care business, competitors and analysts say.