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Sara Lee: Aussie dessert icon plunges into voluntary administration

The recognisable red and white desserts still fill the frozen food aisle in Coles and Woolies today.

Australian dessert staple Sara Lee has joined many other struggling local businesses, entering voluntary administration after 52 years in business.

The “iconic brand” was bought from McCain Foods for an estimated $95 million in 2021 by New Zealand equity firm private equity firm South Island Office, which have appointed administrators Vaughan Strawbridge, Kathryn Evans and Joseph Hansell from FTI Consulting.

“Sara Lee is an iconic brand which produces quality Australian made products from its manufacturing facility in Lisarow NSW, where it employs some 200 staff,” Strawbridge said in a statement on Wednesday.

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Sara Lee  dessert boxes
'Iconic' dessert brand Sara Lee has gone into voluntary administration. (Credit: Getty) (Getty Images)

“We are working with Sara Lee’s management team and staff to continue operations while we secure the future of the business.


“We are immediately commencing a process to sell or restructure the business and continue its long history of manufacturing in Australia.


“We expect a lot of interest in the business and will work with those parties and stakeholders to achieve an outcome soon as possible to secure the ongoing business and provide clarity to its loyal and committed staff and customers.”

The recognisable red and white branding has been plastered on desserts across the country since expanding into Australia in 1971.

Its frozen cheesecakes, pies, crumbles and ice cream are still in Coles and Woolworths nationwide today.

The South Island Office Ltd merged Sara Lee and The Original Foods Baking Company in 2021.

The Australian manufacturer has expanded trading beyond Australia to New Zealand, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

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