if only a scent had 20 grams of fat

January 5, 2007 at 7:05 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This is the great thing about the business press, they tell it like it is.  Sure, there’s all kinds of spin (look at the interview with the CEO of McDonald’s on the opposite page) but every so often, they do dig deep and tell you what’s behind the facade.  I love the first part in bold.

Sara Lee Jostles for a Breakfast Seat – WSJ.com:

He had Sara Lee’s sensory experts make sure the smell of [the] entrees cooking in a microwave mimicked the smell of those cooked on a stove. Sara Lee packaging engineers tested rectangular, square and circular bowls, concluding that consumers preferred thick circular plastic bowls with handles, so they could pull the dish out of the microwave without burning their fingers.

The goal was to develop a “speed scratch” breakfast — something that could be made in tandem with fresh ingredients for a family of four in just 10 minutes. Mr. Wellner says he couldn’t push the creativity needle too far. While Americans may devour tapas and sushi for lunch and dinner, their breakfast habits are change-resistant.

‘Sense of Freshness’ In tests, consumers told Jimmy Dean executives that they prefer the speed-scratch approach because they could prepare the breakfast quickly while embellishing it with their own cheeses and eggs. “It gave them a sense of freshness that they did it themselves,” Mr. Wellner says. The company added red and green peppers for coloring and their “appetite appeal,” he says.

In developing Breakfast Bowls, Mr. Wellner stuck with hearty basics like ham, sausage, potatoes and pancakes. He tested nearly a dozen flavors of eggs and omitted any eggs that were too rubbery or soft. “Is the texture just about right, in terms of chewiness?” Mr. Wellner recalls asking during tests. He eschewed less popular flavors — like feta cheese — that didn’t appeal to at least 25% of consumers.

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