Fresh Deli Trends: Sara Lee Launches Business Solutions Platform

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Fresh Deli Trends: Sara Lee Launches Business Solutions Platform


In a bid to showcase the power of its brand and investment in category management proficiencies, Sara Lee has tapped the Chicago-based Perishables Group to launch a next-generation leadership platform for its retail deli meats and cheeses.

A cutting-edge category leadership tool created by the Perishables Group, the business solutions platform is a Web-based platform that capitalizes on the significant investment the brand has made in understanding optimal pricing, promotion and consumer behaviors in the deli. The platform houses this information and allows users to incorporate various pieces into customer-ready presentations in fewer than 10 mouse clicks.

“We know the only way to be a category leader is to understand all aspects of the category, and to work hand-in-hand with retailers to apply that knowledge,” noted Michelle Malkin, director category planning at Downers Grove, Ill.-based Sara Lee. “We will use the Business Solutions Platform to showcase the power of carrying the Sara Lee brand, in conjunction with proven category management strategies, to grow deli sales for our retail customers.”

Bruce Axtman, Perishables Group president and CEO, said Sara Lee’s new platform takes “category management in the deli to a new level. Sales data isn’t enough to lead a category anymore; it takes more advanced knowledge. The ultimate objective of the platform is to enable every member of the Sara Lee team to efficiently communicate that information with retailers, to maximize sales.”

In addition to detailed POS data, the business solutions platform integrates comparative retailer and brand performance, trade survey results and insight, alongside Spectra consumer profiles and consumer survey results.

On a related note, we send our best wishes to Brenda Barnes, Sara Lee’s chief executive and chairwoman, who will permanently step down from her position and relinquish her board seat due to health concerns. Barnes, 56, had been on temporary medical leave since May after suffering a stroke. After spending the majority of her career with PepsiCo, from 1976 to 1996, and serving as CEO of PepsiCola North America from 1996 to 1998, Barnes joined Sara Lee as president and CEO in 2004 and became CEO in 2005. She restructured the company by slimming down operations and paring its unprofitable sectors. Sara Lee’s revenue fell to $13 billion in 2009, from nearly $16 billion in 2006. It is not yet known who will replace Barnes, but a successor is expected to be named shortly.