As the marketplace changes, innovation allows leaders to maintain market relevance

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 9th January 2009

Global branding in the food and beverage industry has never been more challenging. Yet for select leading global companies, the often volatile international marketplace is populated with more opportunities than pitfalls.

According to market research publisher Packaged Facts’ new report, Top Global Food and Beverage Companies: Strategies for Success, there are eight companies who continue to exemplify the ideal model for success: Nestlé, Kellogg, Anheuser-Busch (now a part of In-Bev), Wrigley (now operating as a subsidiary of Mars), Kraft, Heinz, Danone and Coca-Cola.

It’s no coincidence that these elite eight are among the most recognisable company names in the world. Each manages a portfolio of brands that are consumed across multiple international markets, and most have heritages going back over a century. Looking at the well-renowned Interbrand rankings of the world’s top 100 brands and it is no surprise to see seven of these eight having brands in the top 100 list.

The companies singled out by Packaged Facts continue to use their reputations and innovation in their bids to flourish amidst the major trends that are challenging and changing the food and beverage industry in the 21st Century, Packaged Facts explains.

“The foremost similarity among all eight companies is their commitment to innovation, to create products that meet the changing needs of consumers,” Tatjana Meerman, publisher of Packaged Facts, said. “Innovation is a critical part of their strategies to win over new consumers, protect and bolster their competitive advantage and hence drive long-term financial gains.”

For example, many companies employ strategies to allay the mounting pressure they face to be accountable for and help promote healthier lifestyles. These include moving nutritional guidelines to the front of packs to enable consumers to make better informed decisions, producing smaller packs to supply consumers with snack solutions that can be used as part of calorie-controlled diets, and providing products that are nutritionally balanced or have added nutritional benefits.

The marketplace continues to transform, with demand for greater convenience and healthier choices combining with continual changes in legislation. Companies and brands need to be prepared for these, and many more, changes.