SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — The sweet treats on offer by Australia’s iconic frozen desserts brand Sara Lee could face a bitter end as the firm enters voluntary administration. Products such as its pound cake have long been quite popular in Singapore.
Best-known Down Under for its frozen cheese-cakes and ice-cream, Sara Lee has been producing desserts in Lisarow, about 90km north of Sydney, since 1971.
On Wednesday (Oct 18), Australian media confirmed that the 52-year-old brand had entered voluntary administration, a process where independent administrators are appointed to assess an insolvent company’s available options.
In a statement on Wednesday, Mr Vaughan Strawbridge of FTI Consulting, one of the administrators, said that operations would continue while they secured the “future of the business”.
This may involve the restructuring or selling of the firm, he said.
“We expect a lot of interest in the business and will work with those parties and stakeholders to achieve an outcome as soon as possible to secure the ongoing business and provide clarity to its loyal and committed staff and customers,” he added.
Despite a report showing that Sara Lee had been profitable from May 2021 to July 2022, higher costs over the past year had led to price increases across all its products in May this year, reported The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.
Sara Lee products can still be found across supermarkets in Singapore where they have been quite popular over many years.
The sudden announcement has caused netizens to take to social media to express their disbelief at the possible demise of a firm that has long been part of many Australians’ lives.
Many went online to share nostalgic memories of their experiences with Sara Lee brand.
One Facebook user reminisced: “I remember when I was a little girl going to the factory with my aunty buying the slabs of banana, carrot, and chocolate cake for Christmas. Hope they can continue this icon.”
A Reddit user, who seemed to be in Singapore, shared an article on the firm’s closure, writing: “Maybe tomorrow (I will) go (to) NTUC (to) buy a frozen cheesecake for some ‘in memorial’ ceremony for it. Remember liking their frozen cheesecake as a kid.”
Reactions were rife on X (formerly Twitter), with many asserting their fondness for the brand’s desserts and suggesting buying some for the final time as a bittersweet goodbye.
One X user posted a picture of Sara Lee’s chocolate bavarian dessert, writing: “Sara Lee going into administration just might be the darkest day in Australia’s history. I, for one, know what I’ll be eating tonight.”
Another joked: “Should I chuck all of the healthy food out of my freezer to make room for the last of the Sara Lee? I feel it would be rude not to.”
Others, however, were more hopeful despite the seemingly grim outlook from the abrupt announcements.
One Redditor wrote: “If they’re in voluntary administration then there’s a prospect the company will survive (they will just go through the process and pay creditors cents/dollars). There’s still hope for our beloved desserts.”
Another replied, echoing similar thoughts: “It will be most likely saved. FTI are the administrators with (a) good track record. Don’t see Sara Lee disappearing unlike what many on here are saying.”