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Big Brands > Grupo Bimbo

New Sara Lee Breads owner Bimbo expands US distribution

By Oliver Nieburg , 13-Apr-2012

A selection of Sara Lee breads that are making the move into Northeast USA
A selection of Sara Lee breads that are making the move into Northeast USA

Bimbo Bakeries USA has expanded distribution of Sara Lee Breads to Northeast markets in the US.

Bimbo acquired Sara Lee’s North American Fresh Bakery operation, which includes Sara Lee Breads, for $709m in November last year.

New markets

The new owners have now moved Sara Lee sliced bread products into Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Bimbo has also expand its existing distribution network of Sara Lee breads in the Mid-Atlantic region, including Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.

Sara Lee Breads products can now be found  in much of the US, but the business still lacks an international presence.

BakeryAndSnacks.com asked Bimbo how it would meet demand for the new US markets.

A company spokesperson, who declined to be named, refused to identify the bakeries in which products would be manufactured, but added that Bimbo’s primary baking facilities for the Northeast were located in Pennsylvania and New York.

Sara Lee Breads buy

Bimbo acquired Sara Lee’s North American Fresh Bakery at a cut price, from $959m to $709m, after it agreed to divest certain brands and assets in Omaha, Kansas City, Oklahoma City and central Pennsylvania.

Under the agreement, it was also required to divest certain assets and the perpetual rights to the Sara Lee and Earthgrains brands for fresh bread, buns and rolls in California.

In December 2011, Bimbo Bakeries USA’s parent company, Grupo Bimbo, also closed a deal for Sara Lee’s fresh bakery business in Spain and Portugal.

Removing additives on some brands

Since it has taken control of US operations, Bimbo claims to have reformulated “top-selling recipes” to remove artificial colours, flavors and preservatives, as well as high-fructose corn syrup.

Bimbo's new Sara Lee Butter Bread

Although substituted ingredients must appear on the ingredients list, a spokesperson refused to identify the replacements and the new ingredients.

Bimbo appears to be expanding operations for Sara Lee Breads on a health platform.

Products intended for the Northeast market and expressly mentioned in Bimbo’s release include a 100% whole wheat bread, a low calorie offering and, a white bread enriched with calcium and fibre for children called Iron Kids.

The company also announced the launch of a new Butter Bread for Atlantic markets.

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