Chicago-based Sara Lee Corp. is helping supermarkets recapture some "share of stomach" they lost to restaurants over the past few years. In early February, Sara Lee's Bil Mar Foods Div., Zeeland, MI, began testing an 18-item line of refrigerated fresh prepared foods called Today's Selection in ten Chicago-area Jewel supermarkets. If successful, the line could lure consumer dollars from foodservice outlets like Boston Market back to supermarkets. Although details are sketchy, packaging will play a major role in the test of the products. Each of six entrees ($3.99), six sandwiches ($3.99) and six side dishes ($1.29) are packed in a stylish black thermoformed dish topped by a clear thermoformed dome, all supplied through Redex Packaging (Schaumburg, IL). Neither Sara Lee nor the supplier would identify the materials, but the octagonal dish and dome each carries the resin code for "7-other." In-store shelf life is "in the range" of three days. When filled, the package is backflushed with gas and hermetically sealed, says Ihor Wyslotsky of Redex. Redex holds several patents on the complete packaging system. An attractive paper label identifying the Sara Lee heritage is added, but not for tamper evidence. TE is provided by a scored tear-strip that releases the dome from the dish. Sara Lee wouldn't reveal more details, but a Bil Mar spokesman did say the food for the Chicago test was prepared and packaged "locally." John Bryan, Sara Lee chairman and CEO, has said the line would be added to Chicago's Dominick's supermarkets soon.
Sara Lee puts its brand on take-home foods
Look out Boston Market!
Feb 28th, 1997
Companies in this article