Industry News | August 16, 2012

Sara Lee Intros Line of Oktoberfest Sausages

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Sara Lee Foodservice, a division of The Hillshire Brands Company, announced the release of six new sausage varieties in advance of the most celebrated sausage festival of the year—Oktoberfest.

Sausage, or “wurst,” is a German specialty that is a staple of the autumnal holiday, and operator sales reflect its prominence with an annual 10 percent spike from September into October.

Oktoberfest 2012 will take place from September 22–October 7.

“Sausage is an iconic element of Oktoberfest. It complements the customary microbrews and is a dynamic protein that can be used in breakfast, lunch, or dinner recipes,” says Chris Kline, executive chef, Sara Lee Foodservice. “Its versatility also creates an opportunity for operators to adapt their menu offerings based on their patrons’ palates, which differ based on regional preferences.”

The new Hillshire Farm sausage products include:

  • Hillshire Farm American-Style Bratwurst, seasoned with coriander, pepper, and onion and available in cooked or raw links.
  • Hillshire Farm Andouille Smoked Sausage, made with onions, peppers, and seasonings and 
available diced or in rope.
  • Hillshire Farm Chorizo Sausage, flavored with chili pepper, paprika, and cumin and available 
diced.
  • Hillshire Farm Spicy Fajita–Flavored Smoked Sausage with Monterey Jack Cheese, which features spicy fajita seasonings and creamy Monterey Jack cheese and is available in links.
  • Hillshire Farm Spicy Italian-Style Smoked Sausage with Mozzarella Cheese, which delivers 
authentic Italian spices and cheese and is available in links. 


The new Galileo sausage product is Galileo Rustic Recipe Sweet Italian, made with a three-pepper blend, whole fennel seeds, anise, garlic, and paprika. It is available in rope, links, or bulk.


“You don’t have to own a German restaurant to capitalize on the spirit of Oktoberfest,” Kline says. "Restaurants across the country can feature sausage in Oktoberfest-inspired recipes that cater to local tastes and take advantage of consumers' heightened interest in sausage during September and October."

Earlier this year, Sara Lee Foodservice conducted proprietary research on Americans' sausage consumption. While spicier varieties like Chorizo and Andouille are the fastest-growing categories nationwide, the Sara Lee Foodservice research demonstrates the following distinct region preferences with regard to flavor and variety:

  • Midwest and Southwest: Smoked and Polish sausages, which are coarsely ground and usually made from pork and may also include beef and/or poultry. Flavor highights include hardwood smoke, paprika, mustard, pepper, and herbs; Polish/Polska Kielbasa includes garlic.
  • Midwest: "Wursts," which are coarse or finely ground and are usually made from pork with some beef or veal. Flavor highlights include: bratwurst (pepper, mace, ginger, nutmeg, and milk), knockwurst (light hardwood smoke, garlic, pepper, mace, coriander, and allspice), mettwurst (hardwood smoke, nutmeg, pepper, celery, coriander, mustard seed, and caraway), and cheesewurst (hardwood smoke, paprika, pepper, and Wisconsin cheddar).
  • Northeast: Italian, which is coarsely ground and is sweet and hot. It's usually made from pork, and flavor highlights include fennel seed, garlic, and black pepper, plus cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes for hot Italian.
  • Southwest: Chorizo, which is coarsely ground and made from pork. Flavor highlights include fresh and dried chiles, paprika, cumin, black and cayenne pepper, and vinegar.
  • Cajun Country: Andouille, which is coarsely ground and made from pork. Flavor highlights include hardwood smoke, garlic, black, red, and cayenne pepper, and thyme.

Operators who want to customize their menus for the sausage season can consult Sara Lee Foodservice's website, where they will find the regional sausage map and nearly 30 Oktoberfest-inspired recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Sara Lee Foodservice has also created Oktoberfest merchandising kits for operators to decorate their establishments. The kits provide more than 50 pieces of ready-to-use marketing materials, including posters, banners, streamers, table tents, and more.

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