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Coca-Cola and Nestlé Reign Supreme Dominating Food & Drink Sector

09 September 2020
This article is more than 3 years old.
  • Food & drink brands likely to see limited impact as a result of COVID-19 pandemic
  • Coca-Cola retains title of world’s most valuable and strongest soft drinks brand, brand value US$37.9 billion
  • Yili overtakes Danone as world’s most valuable dairy brand and jumps to 2nd place in food ranking, brand value up 13%
  • Nestlé dominates as most valuable food brand and boasts world’s largest food & drink brand portfolio, cumulative brand value US$68.5 billion
  • Ones to watch: Kikkoman and Amul

View the full Brand Finance Food & Drink 2020 report here

Food & drink sector sheltered from COVID-19 damage

The food & drink sector is one of the few sectors that should suffer limited impact as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the world’s top food & drink brands unlikely to lose brand value, according to the latest Brand Finance Food & Drink 2020 report.

Looking beyond the food & drink sector, however, the value of the 500 most valuable brands in the world, ranked in the Brand Finance Global 500 2020 league table, could fall by an estimated US$1 trillion as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Brand Finance has assessed the impact of COVID-19 based on the effect of the outbreak on enterprise value, compared to what it was on 1st January 2020. The likely impact on brand value was estimated for each sector. The industries have been classified into three categories – limited impact (minimal brand value loss or potential brand value growth), moderate impact (up to 10% brand value loss), and heavy impact (up to 20% brand value loss) – based on the level of brand value loss observed for each sector in the first quarter of 2020.

Coca-Cola bubbles to top

American soft drinks giant, Coca-Cola, retains its title of the world’s most valuable soft drinks brand, recording a steady 5% increase in brand value to US$37.9 billion. With a brand worth more than double that of its second-placed rival, Pepsi (up 2% to US$18.9 billion), Coca-Cola proves its dominance in the global soft drinks market for another year.

Aside from calculating 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 drinks brand, with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 90.9 out of 100 and a corresponding elite AAA+ brand strength rating.

Founded over a century ago and sold in over 200 countries, Coca-Cola is a unique example of a B2C brand with a significant historical impact – from its political significance during World War II, to developing innovations in modern advertising, and even to shaping the jolly Santa Claus character that is most commonly portrayed in the Western world.

Consistent with other brands in the soft drinks sector, Coca-Cola’s success has been disrupted by COVID-19, suffering the steepest drop in quarterly sales in over 25 years due to the fall in demand after bars, restaurants, and cinemas were forced to close.

When looking at the brand portfolios across the food and drink sector, The Coca-Cola Company’s portfolios claims the third position with a cumulative brand value of US$55.7 billion. PepsiCo sits in second, with a total brand value of US$62.0 billion.

Savio D’Souza, Valuation Director, Brand Finance commented:

“The pandemic has dented Coca-Cola’s once solid reputation as being a recession proof brand, while this can be put down to extraneous impacts, its fierce rival, Pepsi, has fared relatively well. On a portfolio level PepsiCo continues to pull ahead of Coca-Cola in terms of brand value and strength. Management is making the right calls to cull zombie brands and refocus on the strong master brand, and a streamlined portfolio. Moving forward, Coca-Cola will need to react to the pandemic with consistent innovation, marketing efficiency and effectiveness in line with its recent reorganisation of the business.”

Yili grows impressive 13%

Recording an impressive brand value growth of 13% to US$8.6 billion, Yili has now overtaken Danone to become the most valuable dairy brand in the world, as well as claiming 2nd position in the overall Brand Finance Food 50 2020 ranking.

As Asia’s most valuable dairy brand for the last five years, Yili has continually expanded into new territories, ratifying the brand’s aim to build a global network and target 2 billion consumers by the end of 2020. Domestically, Yili has invested US$4.3 billion in constructing a high-end organic dairy production base in Inner Mongolia, which is expected to generate 60,000 jobs as well as stimulate local farming and logistics industries. Abroad, Yili set its sights on New Zealand, acquiring 100% of equity of the country’s second largest dairy producer, Westland Milk Products.

Yili could see the gap ahead of Danone widen as the brand enjoyed formidable quarterly results, staging a strong rebound in the second quarter despite the pandemic’s negative impact at the beginning of the year.

For the first time, the Brand Finance Food & Drink 2020 report includes the Dairy Portfolio ranking – a ranking that splits the brand value related to dairy brands from the wider food portfolios – as dairy brands represent a large proportion of the food portfolios’ brand value and often are responsible for movement within the overall ranking.

Yili also has the fifth most valuable dairy portfolio, with a total brand value of US$8.6 billion, an impressive feat as traditionally Asian players have not performed well in the dairy business, with international counterparts dominating market share. Nestlé once again leads the way, boasting the most valuable dairy portfolio with a combined brand value of US$12.6 billion. Lactalis’ (total brand value US$11.7 billion) and Danone’s (total brand value US$11.6 billion) dairy portfolios claim second and third respectively.

Savio D’Souza, Valuation Director, Brand Finance commented:

“As a brand committed to continuous innovation in the industry, it is unsurprising that Yili has managed to continually achieve its expansion goals this year, even despite the COVID-19 pandemic. In the coming year, Yili’s strong strategy of innovation is set to be the brand’s core power for growth in the future”.

Nestlé boasts most valuable portfolio

Nestlé has retained the title of the world’s most valuable food brand following a 3% brand value increase to US$20.3 billion. The Nestlé portfolio is once again the most valuable food & drink portfolio, with a total brand value US$68.5 billion.

For another year, Nestlé has celebrated strong organic growth, following a solid performance in its key US market. The brand prides itself on its market-leading, high-speed innovation and has recently successfully rolled out its premium Starbucks products. Furthermore, Nestlé has capitalised on the ever-growing vegan and vegetarian movement through the development of its plant-based offering.

Hungry for growth, Nestlé has got a pipeline of expansion projects in its sights, including its Purina Australia arm, further investment in Purina US, as well as in its Romont production centre in Switzerland.

Savio D’Souza, Valuation Director, Brand Finance commented:

“Nestlé’s response and resilience to the COVID-19 outbreak has demonstrated why the brand is truly a leader both on home soil and globally. Posting solid growth in a time of turmoil is testament to the agility and strength of the brand. With Brand Finance calculating that the food industry is one of the few sectors that should see limited impact from the pandemic, Nestlé certainly seems to be in a strong position to weather the storm.”

Ones to watch

Across the sector there are some standout brands that have recorded significant growth in brand value.

As the fastest growing food brand, Japan’s Kikkoman has jumped an impressive 12 spots up the Brand Finance Food 50 2020 ranking from 34th to 22nd, growing by a staggering 36% to US$3.0 billion. Particularly excelling in the soy sauce business, Kikkoman claims the greatest share of the domestic soy sauce market.

Indian dairy brand, Amul is one to watch this year as the fastest growing dairy brand, increasing in brand value by 25% to US$3.1 billion. The brand has focused on diversifying its portfolio, launching its Tru range. The brand cites improvements in its infrastructure, and thus increased sales in rural areas, as a key reason behind its recent solid financial performance.

View the full Brand Finance Food & Drink 2020 report here

Note to Editors

Every year, Brand Finance values 5,000 of the world’s biggest brands. The 50 most valuable food brands, 25 most valuable soft drinks brands, and 10 most valuable dairy brands are included in the Brand Finance Food & Drink 2020 report.

Brand value is understood as the net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market. Brand strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors.

Additional insights, charts, and more information about the methodology, as well as definitions of key terms are available in the Brand Finance Food & Drink 2020 report.

Data compiled for the Brand Finance rankings and reports are provided for the benefit of the media and are not to be used for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.

Media Contacts

Penny Erricker
Communications Executive
Brand Finance

About Brand Finance

Brand Finance is the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy. Bridging the gap between marketing and finance for more than 25 years, Brand Finance evaluates the strength of brands and quantifies their financial value to help organizations of all kinds make strategic decisions.

Headquartered in London, Brand Finance has offices in over 20 countries, offering services on all continents. Every year, Brand Finance conducts more than 5,000 brand valuations, supported by original market research, and publishes over 100 reports which rank brands across all sectors and countries.

Brand Finance also operates the Global Brand Equity Monitor, conducting original market research annually on over 5,000 brands, surveying more than 150,000 respondents across 38 countries and 31 industry sectors. Combining perceptual data from the Global Brand Equity Monitor with data from its valuation database enables Brand Finance to arm brand leaders with the data and analytics they need to enhance brand and business value.

Brand Finance is a regulated accountancy firm, leading the standardization of the brand valuation industry. Brand Finance was the first to be certified by independent auditors as compliant with both ISO 10668 and ISO 20671 and has received the official endorsement of the Marketing Accountability Standards Board (MASB) in the United States.

Definition of Brand

Brand is defined as a marketing-related intangible asset including, but not limited to, names, terms, signs, symbols, logos, and designs, intended to identify goods, services, or entities, creating distinctive images and associations in the minds of stakeholders, thereby generating economic benefits.

Brand Strength

Brand strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors. Brand Finance evaluates brand strength in a process compliant with ISO 20671, looking at Marketing Investment, Stakeholder Equity, and the impact of those on Business Performance. The data used is derived from Brand Finance’s proprietary market research programme and from publicly available sources.

Each brand is assigned a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score out of 100, which feeds into the brand value calculation. Based on the score, each brand is assigned a corresponding Brand Rating up to AAA+ in a format similar to a credit rating.

Brand Valuation Approach

Brand Finance calculates the values of brands in its rankings using the Royalty Relief approach – a brand valuation method compliant with the industry standards set in ISO 10668. It involves estimating the likely future revenues that are attributable to a brand by calculating a royalty rate that would be charged for its use, to arrive at a ‘brand value’ understood as a net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market.

The steps in this process are as follows:

1 Calculate brand strength using a balanced scorecard of metrics assessing Marketing Investment, Stakeholder Equity, and Business Performance. Brand strength is expressed as a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score on a scale of 0 to 100.

2 Determine royalty range for each industry, reflecting the importance of brand to purchasing decisions. In luxury, the maximum percentage is high, while in extractive industry, where goods are often commoditised, it is lower. This is done by reviewing comparable licensing agreements sourced from Brand Finance’s extensive database.

3 Calculate royalty rate. The BSI score is applied to the royalty range to arrive at a royalty rate. For example, if the royalty range in a sector is 0-5% and a brand has a BSI score of 80 out of 100, then an appropriate royalty rate for the use of this brand in the given sector will be 4%.

4 Determine brand-specific revenues by estimating a proportion of parent company revenues attributable to a brand.

5 Determine forecast revenues using a function of historic revenues, equity analyst forecasts, and economic growth rates.

6 Apply the royalty rate to the forecast revenues to derive brand revenues.

7 Discount post-tax brand revenues to a net present value which equals the brand value.


Brand Finance has produced this study with an independent and unbiased analysis. The values derived and opinions presented in this study are based on publicly available information and certain assumptions that Brand Finance used where such data was deficient or unclear. Brand Finance accepts no responsibility and will not be liable in the event that the publicly available information relied upon is subsequently found to be inaccurate. The opinions and financial analysis expressed in the study are not to be construed as providing investment or business advice. Brand Finance does not intend the study to be relied upon for any reason and excludes all liability to any body, government, or organisation.

The data presented in this study form part of Brand Finance's proprietary database, are provided for the benefit of the media, and are not to be used in part or in full for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.

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