Sara Lee Food & Beverage expanded its fresh bread portfolio by creating a product that marries the attributes of white bread with the formula characteristics of whole grain bread. Sara Lee Soft & Smooth Made with Whole Grain White Bread uses a flour blend of 70% enriched flour and 30% whole grain flour. This combination allows the company to manufacture a bread with whole grains that looks, smells, feels and tastes like white bread, the company says.
"Using a flour blend to ensure the taste and appearance of white bread is the best way to reach a large cross-section of white-bread consumers and really drive whole grain consumption," Bill Nictakis, president of Sara Lee Food & Beverage's U.S. Fresh Bakery unit, said. "That's why we say the future of whole grains for many Americans is white bread."
Sara Lee Soft & Smooth Made with Whole Grain White Bread arrived in stores at the end of July, and has a suggested retail price of $1.99 or more. The 20-oz. loaf offers consumers 8 grams of whole grains per two slices and 3 grams of fiber per serving. The product also contains no trans fats, artificial colors or flavors, and is a good source of vitamin D and folic acid, and an excellent source of calcium.
The company developed its new bread by conducting taste-test panels to evaluate the different blends of enriched flour to whole grain flour. The company stated that formulas with more than 30% whole grain flour show a significant drop in consumer acceptance taste tests.
"Consumers are used to thinking about transitional products in the dairy aisle-moving from whole milk to 2% milk to skim milk," Frances Coletta, Sara Lee Food & Beverage's director of product nutrition, said. "Sara Lee Soft & Smooth Made with Whole Grain White Bread can help consumers make the transition to whole grains without shocking their taste expectations."
Sara Lee Food & Beverage will support the new product launch with an extensive marketing campaign that is part of the company's $30 million campaign for its entire line of Sara Lee branded breads. The campaign includes television and print advertising, and a massive distribution of more than 115 million coupons, of which more than 20 million coupons are for free bread. These coupons were circulated via the Internet, as free-standing inserts in Sunday newspapers and in magazine ads. The company also distributed coupons in other Sara Lee products, at point of purchase via tear pads, on cash register receipts and at store-display nutrition brochures. In addition, Sara Lee Food & Beverage is conducting samplings of the new bread at minor league baseball parks throughout the country. These samplings will be conducted at more than 250 minor league games at 76 baseball parks.