Sara Lee’s second chance unlocks opportunity for ‘more authentic’ brand story

Australian dessert brand Sara Lee might be set for a renaissance after being saved from administration by a private company owned by partners Klark and Brooke Quinn.

The pair will be looking to emulate their success with the Darrell Lea confectionary brand, which they purchased in 2012 under similar circumstances, and sold six years later to Sydney-based Quadrant Private Equity for around $200 million.

“We are a small Aussie family that shared in the tradition of having Sara Lee Apple Pie and Vanilla Ice-cream every Sunday night at the dinner table and could not be more proud to put the Aussie made and owned stamp on the Sara Lee brand,” the Quinn family said in a statement.

The Quinn’s latest acquisition promises to save as many as 200 hundred jobs at the FMCG brand, an ensure a continued supply of Sara Lee’s iconic product range, which includes frozen cheese cakes, pies and bavarians.

Their entrepreneurial approach follows in the footsteps of Klark Quinn’s parents, who sold their pet food business VIP Petfoods for $410 million in 2015.

Strategy director at IPG branding agency FutureBrand, Emma Waterman, told Mumbrella she was optimistic about the brand’s “new lease on life”.

“In a world of FMCG that’s all too often commoditised, brand can sometimes be an afterthought, at other times it’s forgotten altogether,” she said. “However, as ever more dupes find their way onto our supermarket shelves, there’s a real opportunity for a brand like Sara Lee to surface a more authentic story.”

“We should take confidence from the fact that new owners have a track record in this space after years at the helm working to turnaround Darrell Lea. If they’re going to change the fortunes of this Australian icon, brand is one of the most powerful levers they can draw upon – all the ingredients are there, now is the time when a change in brand can change the future,” she continued.

“Our own research through the FutureBrand Index demonstrates this very point about the value of a brand to a business. In this year’s study, ‘consumer staples’ have led the way – consumer-oriented brands that bring pleasure and provide utility, consistently, every day, are the ones that stand out from the crowd and drive business growth.”


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