Top 10 dairy brands: Yili closes gap on Danone

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Nestlé’s portfolio is the most valuable globally, with a combined brand value of $70.5bn, up 11% on the previous year. Pic: ©Getty Images/bluebay2014
Nestlé’s portfolio is the most valuable globally, with a combined brand value of $70.5bn, up 11% on the previous year. Pic: ©Getty Images/bluebay2014

Related tags Yili Danone Nestlé Kraft Unilever Lactalis yakult Almarai Parmalat

The latest Brand Finance Food & Drink 2019 report shows that, again, Switzerland’s Nestlé tops the food ranking, although its brand value increased by just 1% year on year to $19.6bn.

The brand saw a boost in organic growth, following stronger performances in the brand’s two largest markets, China and the US.

When looking at the brand portfolios across the food and drinks sector, Nestlé’s portfolio is the most valuable with a combined brand value of $70.5bn, up 11% on the previous year.

Corporate brands take a hit

Corporate brands Kraft (down 7% to $4.5bn), Unilever (down 5% to $4.2bn), and Heinz (down 14% to $3.3bn) have all suffered from a decline in brand values, with Unilever and Heinz falling out of the top 10 in the food ranking, according to the report.

Following The Kraft Heinz Company’s failed acquisition of Unilever in 2017, Kraft has undertaken aggressive cost-cutting measures, resulting in significant loss of revenue. Unilever, faring better than Kraft following the failed takeover, has faced scrutiny from stakeholders amid the now-abandoned plans to move its HQ to the Netherlands.

brand finance 2019
©Brand Finance Food & Drink 2019

Yili – top of Asian dairy

Dairy brands Danone and Yili claim second and third place in the food ranking respectively and top the dairy ranking. After recording a 24% increase in brand value to $7.7bn, Yili has closed the gap considerably with Danone, after the French giant suffered a 10% loss in brand value to $8.1bn.

Asia’s most valuable dairy brand for four years running, Yili has committed to its global expansion program and, despite losing out to French dairy manufacturer Lactalis to acquire Danone’s subsidiary Stonyfield, has successfully bought Thailand’s Chomthana. The brand shows no signs of slowing down with the recently announced acquisition of New Zealand’s second largest dairy producer, Westland. These moves are all key steps towards the brand’s ambition of building a global network beyond its domestic market, targeting 2bn consumers at home and abroad by 2020.

Yili has also retained the highest brand potential score in the dairy ranking, highlighting the vast future growth opportunities for the brand, the report continued. In 2018, Yili upgraded its R&D Innovation Centre in Europe and opened the doors to a new facility in the Netherlands. Yili considers its innovation strategy to be the core power for its brand growth in the future.

Fellow Chinese brand, Mengniu, has also recorded a significant increase in brand value (up 45% to $5.0bn) and has entered the top 10 in the food ranking for the first time. Both Yili and Mengniu have benefited from the boom in the Chinese dairy market, which is currently on track to overtake the US as the world’s largest dairy market.

The only changes to the dairy top ten sees Yakult rise two places to sixth, with Almarai dropping from sixth to seventh, and Yoplait dropping from seventh to ninth in spite of seeing its brand value rise by 6.7%.

New in the top ten are Canada’s Dairyland (eighth) and Italian company Parmalat (tenth).

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