Sara Lee: Dessert Masters for Sweet Success
There is a lot in a name.
And there can be no greater endorsement for a commitment to quality and authenticity, than naming your company after a much-loved family member.
When Charles Lubin named his first product – the original Sara Lee cream cheesecake – after his eight-year-old daughter more than 85 years ago: “He wanted every product he made to be as beautiful and perfect as her,” said Sara Lee Head of Marketing and Innovation, Jo Matthews, of the brand’s classic cheesecake with its silky, creamy filling on a golden biscuit base.
“We sell millions of our most-loved desserts every year and want to ensure they’re the best quality – every single time they are served,” Ms Matthews told The Cultivator.
“This keeps our founder Charles Lubin’s dream alive.” Synonymous with quality, Sara Lee remains a trusted Australian family favourite for desserts that “taste like home” – from pies and crumbles to puddings and danishes, cakes and ice-creams, frozen and baked cheesecakes, semifreddo and more.
Opened in 1971 on a twenty-hectare orange orchard, Sara Lee is still proudly operated out of their original bakehouse in the New South Wales central coast town of Lisarow.
“Walking through our factory is just like walking through an enormous baker’s kitchen,” Ms Matthews said.
“We take pride in baking home-made desserts and delivering them at a grand scale at the very highest quality to our consumers – making it easy for them to always have a delicious locally-made sweet treat ready to serve for any occasion, without any of the fuss.”
To ensure impeccable consistency for delectable desserts, Sara Lee continues to bake daily at the renowned Lisarow bakehouse – always using local-fresh premium ingredients wherever possible – to supply retailers nationwide.
“We rely on the consistent quality of the Manildra Group’s ingredients to create millions of delicious products every year, so it’s important for us to continue to nurture and grow this partnership,” Ms Matthews said.
Working together with generations of farming families to supply Sara Lee for more than 25 years, Manildra Group’s flours and sugars are used in a range of croissants, muffins, cheesecakes, and bavarians.
For further enhancing flavour and texture, Manildra Group’s glucose is a key ingredient in Sara Lee’s danishes, cakes, cheesecakes, and bavarians.
“Working together on new products, flavours and formats, we always look local first for our ingredients, so we can continue to support Australian farmers and to sweeten regional life,” said Ms Matthews.
In turn, she said, was a rich appreciation of Sara Lee’s “something for everyone” approach to crafting desserts true to authentically traditional roots, while offering contemporary twists with exciting new products.
“In everything we do, we stay true to who we are – a brand that produces delicious desserts locally, using only the freshest and highest-quality ingredients available,” said Ms Matthews.
“We are also committed to staying on top of consumer trends,” she added in reference to the recent collaboration for Baileys Irish Cream-inspired chocolate pudding and baked cheesecake dessert, and the launch of the decadent Snack Cookie Pies.
McCain Foods sold Sara Lee to New Zealand investment firm, The South Island Office Limited in 2021, to grow their celebrated range of frozen baked goods and desserts.
Manildra Group New South Wales Sales Manager Barry Bance said Sara Lee had “pushed sweet boundaries” and evoked childhood memories with more than 85 years at the forefront of the dessert industry.
“Our lives have all been made that little bit sweeter with Sara Lee,” said Mr Bance in recalling the “moreish” banana cake dished up for his Sunday desserts as a child – and relaunched last year to public demand.
“From the Sara Lee kitchen at Lisarow into our family homes, the enticing dessert range is entirely a labour of love – inspired, crafted, and created by real bakers and pastry chefs in the heart of regional New South Wales,” said Mr Bance.
“Sara Lee’s dessert range ensures our nation can emulate the finesse of fine dining at home, with impressive treats for every taste and preference.”
Mr Bance said Manildra Group’s proud partnership with the “frozen dessert queen” and “iconic game changing brand” nurtured innovation, quality, and authenticity, as core to more than a quarter-century of collaboration.