Sara Lee Corp. has chosen Hillshire Brands Company as the new name for its North American business. Hillshire Brands will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol HSH.
Sara Lee will become two independent pure-play, publicly-traded companies on June 28, 2012. D.E Master Blenders 1753 will focus on international coffee and tea and Hillshire Brands will focus on meat-centric food products and foodservice operations. The latter will include several popular, market-leading consumer brands such as Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm, Ball Park, Aidells, Gallo Salame and State Fair. After the spin-off, Hillshire Brands’ Foodservice division will continue to be known as Sara Lee Foodservice, a brand name with considerable equity in the industry due to its full portfolio of meat and bakery items, including both front-of-the-house and back-of-the house brands.
“As a pure-play company with strong momentum, we needed a name and identity that captures the potential of this new organization,” says Sean Connolly, CEO of Sara Lee North American Retail and Foodservice, who will become CEO of Hillshire Brands. “Hillshire Brands represents our strong heritage in quality and great taste, as well as our ambitions for growing our portfolio of iconic brands in the future.”
The Hillshire name was inspired by the Hillshire Farm brand, which Sara Lee acquired in 1971. “A key goal was to retain the strong equity with consumers and customers that the Hillshire name brings us,” adds Connolly. “’Hillshire’ is a name that stands for quality, integrity and superior taste.”
The company has also adopted a new visual identity to help position Hillshire Brands as a leader focused on providing innovative meat-centric brand and snack solutions, but at the same time, create a distinction between the new corporate name and the leading Hillshire Farm brand. The identity will be instilled throughout the organization through signage, stationery and a branded office space currently under construction in Chicago.
To assist in crafting a brand image that accurately reflects its new strategic direction and name, the company engaged branding firm Duffy & Partners.
“Having worked with many of the company’s iconic brands throughout the years, this was a particularly exciting assignment,” says the firm's creative director, Joe Duffy. “It was an opportunity to deliver a powerfully unique design solution that reflects Hillshire Brands’ desire to provide millions of consumers’ delicious convenient meat-centric foods.”