Confectionery giant Nestlé was ranked as the world’s most valuable food and beverage brand of 2017, in the latest Brand 50 report from global market analyst Brand Finance.
Valued at $US19.4 billion, Nestlé retained the top spot from 2016, but dropped 17 per cent in estimated brand value from $US23.3 billion, landing an AAA- rating on the declining brand strength.
Brand Finance CEO David Haigh said Nestlé had been hit by “the pervasive trend for healthier, more natural food”, which reduced demand for Nestlé’s traditional confectionary brands such as KitKat, Butterfinger and Munch.
Each of the top four companies, including Danone, Kellogg’s, and Kraft, retained their positions from 2016, but fell in value from two to four per cent.
At number 5, Heinz was the first to have shown value increase from $US4.4 billion, up 19 per cent to $US5.2 billion.
Unilever was ranked as the second most valuable food brand portfolio at $US42.89 billion, and retained eighth place for brand value with only a three per cent drop.
Mr Haigh said the refusal of a $US143 billion bid by KraftHeinz for Unilever was seen to have significantly undervalued the company.
“Unilever has one of the world’s most valuable brand portfolios, more than double KraftHeinz,” he said.
“Quantifying this and bringing it to the fore will be key to defending any future bids or ensuring that shareholders receive fair value.”
In a challenging year for confectionery, Hershey’s (24th) and Mars (25th) dropped by 10 and 14 per cent respectively, while Cadbury and Ferrero each showed strong brand growth of 24 per cent.
In the soft drinks category, Coca-Cola’s brand came in first, valued seven per cent lower at $US31.8 billion, down from $US34.1 billion to retain its title as the world’s most valuable non-alcoholic drink brand.
Mr Haigh said that despite Coca-Cola’s new One Brand initiative, the company had failed to address changing consumer tastes “in a substantive way”.
“As alternatives marketed as healthier or more natural have fragmented the soft drinks market, Coca-Cola brand value has declined,” he said.
Pepsi, Red Bull, Nescafe, and Gatorade followed to fifth spot, with brand value growth only in Red Bull and Gatorade.
Sprite, Mountain Dew and Dr Pepper also saw brand growth in the past year, with Dr Pepper clocking up a 27 per cent increase to $US2.9 billion.
Fanta’s brand stock, at ninth place, tumbled a disappointing 12 per cent.