Changing consumer habits, ongoing health concerns and economic pressure on core customers moderated results in BrandZ’s Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands 2013 research in the food and drink category. Brands emphasized value, added healthier menu options and remodeled locations.
• Beer improved 36 percent, the greatest percentage brand value rise of all categories. Bud Light topped the beer brand list with a 2013 brand value of $10.8 million, a 30 percent brand value change to the positive from 2012.
Beer brands showed strength in most markets, particularly the BRICs. The increase reflected brand strength and strong financial results in a highly consolidated category. The world’s two largest beer brewers, AB InBev and SABMiller, collectively market several hundred brands. They and the next two largest brewers, Heineken and Carlsberg, produce about half the beer sold worldwide.
Additionally, U.S. beer consumption rose 1.3 percent, according to the Beer Institute, a research source of the U.S. brewing industry. The first improvement in several years, it helped balance sales in the softer economies of Western Europe. Consumption remained strong in fast growing markets.
At the same time, brewers faced higher ingredient costs and tax rates and continuing consumer price sensitivity. And the industry’s traditional practices for expanding distribution and driving volume encountered new challenges from tightening regulations and changing drinking habits.
• Fast food increased 5 percent. Flat customer traffic in the U.S, along with economic pressure in Europe and slower growth in the BRICs, reduced the rate of increase from 15 percent a year ago. Despite that its brand value fell 5 percent from 2012, McDonald’s was No. 1 on the fast food brand list with a brand value of $90.2 million.
The Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) business felt the effects of flat traffic in the U.S. and economic sluggishness in Europe, without a boost from the fast growing markets, particularly China, which dependably drove sales even during the recession.
Brands continued to rely on promotional tactics to drive short-term gains with value oriented options, tempting customers items. They also implemented strategic improvements to meet changing consumer expectations for the restaurant experience.
Snacking became an important “day part.” Snacks produce strong margins and leverage locations during the underused afternoon hours after lunch and before dinner. Brands experimented with ways to offer traditional items in smaller and less expensive portions. They marketed specialty beverages, like coffees and fruit drinks, as snacks.
• Soft drinks rose 5 percent, following a rise of only 1 percent a year ago. The change in value reflects effective brand marketing and the ongoing popularity of energy and sports drinks. But because the category was redefined to be more inclusive this year, results are not completely comparable. Coca-Cola took the top spot on the soft drinks list with a 2013 brand value of $64.7 million—a 7 percent brand value change from 2012.
Cola brands promised to deliver the trifecta of hydration, refreshment and taste. But consumers in developed markets wanted more. To fit the needs of their over-scheduled lives, they expected the brands to multitask, adding functional benefits, like an energy boost to the basic thirst quenching proposition. And consumers continued to worry about the healthiness of carbonated soft drinks (CSD).
Find more information about this year’s BrandZ research as well as complete top 10 lists per category, go here.