Hillshire Brands to focus on meat snacks: CEO

by Staff
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DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. – Sean Connolly, CEO of The Hillshire Brands Company, formerly Sara Lee Corporation, is looking forward to adding more products to the company’s lineup, including meat snack meats, according to a Reuters report.

Connolly said that developing new meat products as snack food options should be a key driver of sales and profits for the newly independent company since meat snack products can bring in higher prices and could help get Hillshire's products into more than just grocery stores.

"We view that as an emerging market," Connolly said. "There is a compelling consumer need around getting protein into the snacking occasion, as opposed to some of the hollow calories that they rely on today."

The Illinois-based company recently changed its name after spinning off its international coffee and tea business. Sara Lee decided to refocus efforts on the meat business after takeover bids were not high enough to lure it into a sale. Now, the leaner, meat-focused Hillshire Brands is seen as a takeover target, according to some analysts.

Connolly declined to address talks of takeovers, saying only that "I wouldn't be here if I didn't think we were an incredibly attractive company."

Among Hillshire's portfolio of brands, Jimmy Dean has seen consistent support and innovation, Connolly said, while others have not, including the company's namesake Hillshire Farms.

"I'd like to see us make that line more contemporary. We have some ideas up our sleeve to do just that," Connolly said, citing flavor varieties as an example.

"You should expect us to shake it up. We're going to bring some provocative news to our categories," he said.

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