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Sara Lee Launches Six Major New Products

Consumer Products


Sara Lee Corporation is a Chicago-based global manufacturer and marketer of high-quality, brand-name products for customers throughout the world.


Sara Lee launched an ambitious multi-year plan to transform Sara Lee into a company focused on food, beverage, household and body care businesses around the world. As part of its plan, Sara Lee is driving growth with new products in its strong brands which include Ball Park, Douwe Egberts, Hillshire Farm, Jimmy Dean, Kiwi, Sanex, Senseo, and namesake, Sara Lee. To meet these goals, Sara Lee wanted a more systematic approach to developing new products.


KT helped Sara Lee develop and implement a systematic approach for identifying the best ideas, managing NPD projects, and commercializing them as successful products. Changes were integrated while building understanding and commitment among everyone involved. KT worked with Sara Lee to embed:
Proactive activities that encourage new ideas, focus resources on high potential projects, eliminate bottlenecks, evaluate risks, and achieve an optimal product portfolio.

Project close-outs to implement control and encourage continuous improvement.
Close-out reviews that provide future NPD teams with valuable lessons about what to do—and what not to do—in future project work. Stage gate reviews that terminate unpromising NPD projects before they are launched. Shared objectives and a common project management language that helps Sales and Marketing, R&D, and Production work together.


Implementation of the new process and acceptance of necessary changes have aligned new product development with the Sara Lee strategy for growth. With the new NPD process in place, Sara Lee is building a results-focused portfolio of targeted projects that have an increased probability of commercial success.


  • High potential and successful projects, like the new Senseo coffee line, have been identified and brought into the NPD pipeline.
  • The process has positioned Sara Lee for growth through improved NPD.
  • Six major new products have been launched internationally without significant quality defects.
  • NPD teams have accepted the new, systematic approach and perceive it as supportive of entrepreneurial activity.

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