Sit Down, Eat Lunch…Make It An Occasion: Sara Lee Deli Single Occasion Meats and Cheeses Bring Variety to the Lunch Table

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New Sara Lee Deli Single Occasion Meats and Cheeses are making it easier than ever to sit down to enjoy lunch and make it an occasion. Single Occasion deli slices come in convenient single serving packages, with the perfect amount of meat or cheese for just one sandwich, so they can be personalized to individual preferences. They are available in four meat varieties (Oven Roasted Turkey Breast, Honey Roasted Turkey Breast, Honey Roasted Ham and Hardwood Smoked Ham) and three cheeses (Swiss, Mild Cheddar and Smoked Provolone). Meats have a suggested retail price of $1.49 per package, while cheese will cost $1.19 per package.

Every day just after the lunch hour, empty stomachs make themselves heard from coast to coast. High stress, busy schedules and lack of appealing lunchtime options have lead to an epidemic of lunch-skipping in America, with lunch surpassing breakfast to become the most skipped meal of the day. In fact, as many as 15 percent of Americans skip lunch daily and the average person skips the meal at least once a week, according to The NPD Group, a sales and marketing information company.

But now, new Sara Lee Deli Single Occasion Meats and Cheeses are making it easier than ever to sit down to enjoy lunch and make it an occasion. Single Occasion deli slices come in convenient single serving packages, with the perfect amount of meat or cheese for just one sandwich, so they can be personalized to individual preferences. They are available in four meat varieties (Oven Roasted Turkey Breast, Honey Roasted Turkey Breast, Honey Roasted Ham and Hardwood Smoked Ham) and three cheeses (Swiss, Mild Cheddar and Smoked Provolone). Meats have a suggested retail price of $1.49 per package, while cheese will cost $1.19 per package.

"We conducted a "Lunchtime Trends" survey, and discovered that more than one third of Americans look forward to lunch more for the break-time than for the food itself," said Russell Mackey, director of marketing, Sara Lee Deli. "We believe people should be excited about their lunch hour and their meal, and Single Occasion products – ready-to-eat and ideal for a different creation every day – help make lunch worth celebrating."

Tips From a Lunchtime Expert

According to lunchtime expert Miriam Jacobs, author of The Brown Bag Lunch Cookbook and The School Lunch Box Cookbook, it is important to make time in the day for a delicious and nutritious lunch. "The lunch break helps you stay focused and energized throughout the day by recharging both your body and your mind," says Jacobs. "When you plan your lunch you have the opportunity to be healthy and nutritious, but you can also be creative with your lunchtime options and activities so that you will look forward to and make time for lunch."

Jacobs encourages everyone, no matter how busy, to take the time to sit down and eat lunch. The following advice can help make lunch an occasion everyday:

  • It's Recess: Busy people tend to work through their lunch, but just like kids on recess, adults need a break from the day. Bringing lunch from home saves the time it takes to purchase lunch or going to a restaurant, which leaves more time to linger over a sandwich or get outside for a quick walk.
  • Keep it Fresh: "It's hard for single people, or people living in small households, to keep the foods they buy fresh, unless they want to eat the same thing everyday," says Jacobs. Single-serving products like Single Occasion Meats and Cheeses make it possible to vary sandwich ingredients without worrying about a full-size package of lunch meat going bad by the end of the week.
  • Add Some Creativity to the Brown Bag: When preparing lunch for others, whether a spouse or children, Jacobs suggests adding a funny note or joke as a little pick me up. For young kids add stickers or buy packages of cartoon character napkins. If it's your spouse you want to surprise, add a love note!
  • Mix it up: According to the "Lunchtime Trends" survey, only 3 percent of Americans are mixing up their lunch menu. "Eating the same thing every day can become quite monotonous!" says Jacobs. "Stock up on unique condiments and sandwich toppings that can make each sandwich different. Or you can also mix up your choices for sandwich bread by freezing several types of loaves and varying your slices daily. Match the varieties of Single Occasion Meats and Cheeses with your different types of bread for a host of combinations."
  • Make it Nutritious: "Lunch is a great time to sneak in your daily servings of fruits and vegetables," suggests Jacobs. She encourages sandwich makers to "think outside the tomato and lettuce box" by adding shredded carrots, beets, slices of cucumber and radish, jicama or celery to add a fresh and unexpected crunch to your average turkey and cheese sandwich. "Use the freshest ingredients you can find for the best taste," advises Jacobs. "With Single Occasion Meats and Cheeses, you'll get great deli taste every time in a package that stays fresh."
  • Be Social: The "Lunchtime Trends" survey found more than half of Americans usually eat lunch solo. Jacobs suggests spending several lunch breaks a month getting to know your peers and colleagues. To really break from work, make time to enjoy being in the company of your friends – and avoid work-related issues for half an hour or so!
  • Make Each Lunch Special: Jacobs says it's important to know a child's lunchtime favorites and involve kids in the lunch making process. "Work together to make lists of foods your kids like and you approve of, and fill their lunch boxes with them to create a lunch they will be happy with and not trade or throw away," suggests Jacobs. "For example, with Single Occasion products you can honor the individual sandwich preferences of everyone in the family, so everyone feels special and will enjoy their lunch more."
  • The Brown Bag Club: Organize a group of brown baggers at the office and enjoy the meal together. Add some excitement and have a lunch party once a month. Combine the lunch with a book club discussion or a board game tournament to spark lively conversation, or even a light debate.
  • Some Me Time: There are many things to do during the lunch hour, but Jacobs reminds people that lunch can also be considered a mid-day oasis of rest. "Plan a relaxing activity during your break," says Jacobs. "Maybe it's something you really enjoy doing, but think you don't have enough time, like reading a book or favorite magazine. Whether it's the food you eat or the activities you do, take time each day to make lunch an occasion."

About Sara Lee Food & Beverage

Sara Lee Food & Beverage is the leading North American retail food division of Sara Lee Corporation (NYSE:SLE - News). Based in Downers Grove, Ill., SLF&B develops and sells many of the world's favorite high-quality baked goods, meats and coffee. Leading brands and products include Sara Lee fresh breads, frozen desserts and deli meats, Hillshire Farm lunchmeats, Jimmy Dean sausage and breakfast foods, Ball Park franks and the Senseo single-serve coffee system that uses the Douwe Egberts brand of European-style premium coffee.

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Megan Livingston

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