After spending the last four years building the Sara Lee brand into a powerful force in the bread aisle, Sara Lee Food & Beverage is shifting its focus to revamping the EarthGrains brand. The Downers Grove, Ill.-based company announced three new varieties, redesigned packaging and an aggressive marketing campaign as part of the relaunch.
The new line of EarthGrains breads offers “all-natural,” 100% whole grain formulations, which feature a wide slice size and no artificial colors, artificial flavors or chemical preservatives. Varieties include EarthGrains 100% Natural Stone Ground Whole Wheat, EarthGrains 100% Natural Wheat Berry with Honey and EarthGrains 100% Natural 7-Grain. The breads carry a suggested retail price of $2.99 to $3.69.
“Consumers love the EarthGrains brand because it is synonymous with natural and wholesome ingredients, baked to perfection in a great-tasting sandwich bread,” said Tim Zimmer, Sara Lee Food & Beverage’s vice president of marketing. “The relaunch will remind current consumers why they love the brand and introduce it to a whole new audience, interested in all-natural breads that deliver on taste.”
As the new bread products hit store shelves, consumers can expect existing EarthGrains products to be phased out and reintroduced as all-natural formulations. This is the second significant “all-natural” product launch the company has recently conducted. At the end of last year, the company introduced a new line of Sara Lee Hearty & Delicious breads, of which three of the breads were labeled “all-natural.”
Sara Lee Food & Beverage is supporting the relaunch of the EarthGrains brand with a package design that allows consumers to see more of the product. The new design also uses neutral colors and graphics that clearly communicate the all-natural message, the company said.
The high-volume baking industry has been abuzz in the last year with “all-natural” formulations despite the lack of an official definition of the labeling term by the Food & Drug Administration. The agency’s governmental counterpart, the United States Department of Agriculture, has defined “natural” as: “A product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed (a process which does not fundamentally alter the raw product) may be labeled natural. The label must explain the use of the term natural (such as no added colorings or artificial ingredients; minimally processed).” Many bakers follow this loose definition when labeling products “natural.”
Flowers Foods, Thomasville, Ga., launched six new varieties of Nature’s Own “All-Natural” breads in September. These were the first “all-natural” products for Flowers Foods. Prior to the launch, Nature’s Own products were free of artificial preservatives, colors and flavors, but contained non-natural dough conditioners.