History of Sara Lee

Sara Lee Corporation, originally established as a small Chicago-based grocery store in 1939, evolved into a global leader in the food and beverage industry. Founded by Nathan Cummings, the company began its expansion by acquiring several food businesses, notably purchasing C.D. Kenny Company in 1942 and Consolidated Foods Corporation in 1954. It was during this period that the company acquired a small Chicago bakery called Kitchens of Sara Lee, which produced the popular Sara Lee cheesecake. This acquisition marked a significant turning point, as the Sara Lee name quickly became synonymous with high-quality baked goods, and the company eventually adopted the name Sara Lee Corporation in 1985 to capitalize on its brand recognition.

Throughout the late 20th century, Sara Lee expanded its product line and global reach through strategic acquisitions and diversification. The company ventured beyond baked goods into a wide range of consumer products, including meats, beverages, and even household items. In the 2000s, Sara Lee underwent significant restructuring, divesting several non-core businesses to focus on its food and beverage operations. This restructuring culminated in 2012 when the company split into two separate entities: Hillshire Brands, which focused on meat products, and D.E. Master Blenders 1753, which specialized in coffee and tea. Hillshire Brands was subsequently acquired by Tyson Foods in 2014, solidifying Sara Lee's legacy in the global food industry.