Do you know the dessert brand Sara Lee?
You may have chanced across some of their delightful frozen desserts when shopping in some grocery stores in Singapore.
For some, Sara Lee is a household name synonymous with frozen cheesecakes and pound cakes.
But whatever the case, it’s common knowledge that the dessert brand is struggling financially.
It placed itself under voluntarily administration to stay afloat earlier this week. The company said that it was looking to restructure its business or sell to a willing buyer so that the Australian dessert giant would not go under.
We sure hope that the restructuring works and it this isn’t a sad end to what was a great dessert legend.
Here are some facts about Sara Lee (the dessert brand, not the person—though we will touch on the human, Sara Lee, too) which you may be interested in knowing.
Sara Lee Was Not Founded by Sara Lee
You would expect the brand owner to name the brand over himself or herself right?
Think for example, Walt Disney who named the legendary animation company after himself.
But this case is not one which follows that trend.
The first fact that you should know is that the iconic Sara Lee brand is not founded by Sara Lee.
Instead, the brand was founded by Mr Charlie Lubin.
He was a bakery entrepreneur with a passion for baking.
Sara Lee Was the Name of the Owner’s Daughter
Ok, then if Sara Lee is not the owner of the dessert brand, who is she? She can’t possibly be a random name that was pulled out of thin air right?
Yes, the name “Sara Lee” is not a random piecing together of some common names.
Sara Lee was actually the daughter of the dessert brand founder, Mr Lubin.
We have to say that it is very heartwarming that a baker would name his precious business after his daughter.
Another fun fact for you—Sara Lee was only eight years old when her father started to name his cheesecake line after her.
Nothing says a father’s love like naming something special and sweet after you.
And apart from honouring his daughter, nnaming the dessert brand Sara Lee also gave Mr Lubin additional motivation.
According to Sara Lee, her father’s naming of the dessert brand after her made him strive for perfection as the product “had to be perfect because he was naming it after [her]”.
Sara Lee’s Founder First Started Baking Almost a Decade Ago
Next, if you are wondering why the Sara Lee cakes are so good, it’s because the baker Mr Lubin has had ages to hone and perfect his skill.
Mr Lubin started to bake in earnest back in 1935.
That is almost a decade ago.
He had purchased a small chain of neighbourhood bakeries called Community Bake Shops when he was only 32 years old.
Together with his brother-in-law, the duo worked together to grow the business and multiple the three stores into seven stores.
That sounds like a promising beginning, doesn’t it?
Sara Lee’s Founder Split From His Original Partner to Start His Own Sara Lee Brand
A promising beginning it sure was.
About a decade and a half after Mr Lubin started to bake in earnest, he split from the partnership with his brother-in-law to branch out on his own.
This was when he created his now-famous cream cheesecake and named it after his daughter.
The business continued to boom and grow as Mr Lubin worked hard to improve his product range and quality.
In 1951, the well-loved All Butter Pound Cake hit the market after many iterations of trial and error.
Mr Lubin was one who took great pride in the quality and taste of his products so we’re sure the product wouldn’t have launched unless it was perfect.
Sara Lee’s Founder Explored Frozen Desserts After a Buyer’s Request
But, up to this point in time, Mr Lubin was still dabbling in fresh desserts.
The new business idea of turning his creations into frozen desserts began in 1952, when a buyer from Texas wanted to ship the baker’s creations to him in Texas.
As the store was located in Chicago, the ask was quite difficult for Mr Lubin. His fresh desserts did not freeze well, and there is no way a fresh dessert could have made it all the way from Chicago to Texas without spoiling or melting.
This challenge led to Mr Lubin becoming fixated on turning his fresh bakes into frozen products.
In 1953, a reformulated line of frozen products which retained quality and taste were launched.
As expected, the freezing of baked goods was industry-leading at that time in 1953.
However, Mr Lubin wasn’t just yet satisfied.
He continued his innovations, looking into having his cakes in foil baking pans which would could move from kitchen to consumer.
That is, the cake can be baked, frozen, distributed and eaten from the same pan without ever needing to change containers.
He eventually achieved that goal and it was a revolutionary moment for the industry since the idea greatly slashed costs for both the business and consumers.
Sara Lee Cakes Were Once Used for Official State Celebrations
As a testament to how popular the Sara Lee brand was, the brand was actually responsible for the United States of America’s birthday cake.
In 1976, Sara Lee presented the United States with its bicentennial birthday cake. And a big cake it was.
The cake that was presented for the 200th birthday was approximately four stories tall and filled the Freedom Hall in Philadelphia.
We sure got wowed over by a cake that is higher and taller than the ceiling of our HDB flats.
Which of these facts did you find the most interesting?