Nestlé and Coca-Cola have continued to dominate the food and drinks sectors with brand values of US$19.4bn and US$33.2bn, respectively, according to the Brand Finance Food & Drink 2021 report.

Nestlé once again leads the pack as the world’s most valuable and strongest brand in the Brand Finance Food ranking, which for the first time has been extended to 100 brands. 

Despite the pandemic, the food giant posted its third consecutive year of organic growth, profitability, and return on investment capital.

With a continued focus on product innovation and R&D, Nestlé is spearheading changes to reflect the current consumer trends, from its product Smarties becoming the first major global confectionery brand to switch to recyclable paper packing, to announcing the launch of a vegan KitKat. 

The Nestlé portfolio is also the most valuable food and drink portfolio, with a total brand value of US$65.6bn. Despite the parent company underperforming compared with the previous year, it has been offset by the overperformance of some of its sub brands, particularly in the pet care and non-alcoholic drinks segments. 

Coca-Cola, has once again been named the world’s most valuable soft drink brand, despite recording a 13 per cent brand value decline to US$33.2bn. Coca-Cola maintains a healthy lead over rival Pepsi, sitting in second place with a brand value of US$18.4bn. 

In addition to measuring overall brand value, Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance. According to these criteria, Coca-Cola is also the world’s strongest soft drink brand – and the fourth strongest brand in the world according to the Brand Finance Global 500 2021 ranking – with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 91.7 out of 100 and a corresponding elite AAA+ brand strength rating.

With a rich 129-year long history, Coca-Cola is still the most consumed soda in the world, with a staggering 1.9 billion servings, across 200 countries, enjoyed each day. As with other brands globally, however, its parent company has not been immune to the impact of COVID-19, with the multinational forced to restructure and cut more than 2,000 jobs. 

When looking at the brand portfolios across the food and drink sector, The Coca-Cola Company’s portfolio claims third position with a cumulative brand value of US$48.6 billion. PepsiCo’s portfolio sits in second, with a total brand value of US$59.3 billion.

Most of the subsectors included in the Brand Finance Food & Drink 2021 report have recorded cumulative brand value losses this year, as the sector negotiates the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Soft drink brands are the most severely impacted, with the total value of the world’s top 25 most valuable soft drinks brands declining by six per cent, from US$114.8 billion in 2020 to US$107.5 billion in 2021.

The total brand value of food and chocolate brands have declined by four per cent and three per cent, respectively. The only subsector in the report to protect itself from a brand value loss is the dairy sector, which has maintained its total brand value year-on-year. 

Dr Pepper and Red Bull are the fastest and second-fastest growing soft drink brands this year, recording a 40 per cent and 15 per cent brand value increase, respectively.

Lindt is the world’s most valuable chocolate brand, recording an impressive 21 per cent brand value increase to US$3.1bn.

Cadbury is the only other chocolate brand to record a brand value increase this year, up five per cent to US$2.5bn. Owned by Mondelēz International and sold in over 30 countries – with its top three markets the UK, Australia, and India – Cadbury has reaped the benefits of increased spending on its products during the pandemic.

Yili is the world’s most valuable dairy brand, posting an 11 per cent increase in brand value this year to US$9.6bn and pulling even further ahead of previous sector leader Danone (up five per cent to US$8.2bn) in second place. Yili also claims second spot behind Nestlé in the Brand Finance Food 100 2021 ranking. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has put a huge amount of pressure on the food and drink industry globally, from disrupted supply chains and panic buying, to a complete change in consumer habits. The result of this has led to the majority of brand values suffering this year across the sector. The future is not bleak, however, brands with high levels of familiarity and reputation are likely to bounce back successfully as we begin the return to normality,” said Savio D’Souza, Valuation Director, Brand Finance.

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