Brand loyalty and R&D innovation key to Yili's 'most valuable dairy brand' status

By Teodora Lyubomirova

- Last updated on GMT

Yili's Global Smart Manufacturing Industrial Park took three years to complete and forms part of the Yili Future Intelligenece and Health Valley. Image: Yili
Yili's Global Smart Manufacturing Industrial Park took three years to complete and forms part of the Yili Future Intelligenece and Health Valley. Image: Yili

Related tags Dairy brand loyalty Brand Finance Danone Nestlé Yili

The Chinese dairy giant was also ranked the second most valuable food brand, with Danone and Mengniu Dairy also in the top 10.

According to the Food and Drink 2023 ranking of independent brand valuation agency Brand Finance – which analyzes factors such as brand strength, revenue and royalty rates to determine brand value - Nestlé retained the top spot as the most valuable food brand in the world, its valuation growing to $22.4bn in 2023 from $20.8bn in 2022.

Yili stayed second, making the Chinese company the world’s most valuable dairy firm four years in a row, with a valuation of $12.4bn, up 17% from $10.5bn in 2022.

There were no changes in the top 5 from 2022, with potato chips maker Lay’s ($11bn) coming third, Danone ($8.9bn) – fourth, and American multinational Tyson Foods ($8.7bn), fifth. Besides Yili and Danone, Chinese dairy company Mengnui Dairy was the only other dairy company in the top 10, ranking 9th​ with a valuation of more than $6bn.

Each year, Brand Finance analyzes 5,000 of the biggest brands and publishes more than 100 reports ranking brands across industries and countries. The 100 strongest and most valuable food brands in the world are included in the annual Brand Finance Food 100 2023 ranking.

Commenting on Yili’s performance, Brand Finance highlighted the Chinese dairy firm had fostered ‘strong customer loyalty in its local market by consistently delivering products of exceptional quality and perceived health benefits’. “This has contributed to strong domestic sales growth,” said the agency, “while the brand’s global presence has also propelled its overseas revenue.”

Yili operates 15 R&D and innovation centers and has this year introduced multiple functional dairy products as the firm focused on immune system-boosting solutions. These included Satiune, the word’s first ambient organic pure milk product with active lactoferrin, the company having improved the lactoferrin retention rate from 10% to over 90% following a three-year R&D process.

The firm has also been upgrading its supply chain through digital innovation, including developing smart farms that operate without human intervention throughout.

In April 2022, Yili became the first Chinese food company to release its peak carbon emission and carbon neutrality targets as well as a roadmap how these targets would be achieved. More recently, the firm became the first Chinese company to join the United Nations Water Action Agenda, representing voluntary commitments of nations and stakeholders to accomplish the Sustainable Development Goals and their targets connected to water. According to the company's 2022 annual results, its total revenue and net profit reached $17.8bn and $1.36bn respectively, up 11.37% and 8.34% year-on-year. 

Nestlé’s brand value grows 8%

According to the report, Nestlé’s brand value grew from $20.8bn to $22.4bn year-on-year. Brand Finance attributed this partly to strong sales growth across Nestlé’s brand portfolio and the CPG’s ability to meet changing consumer preferences and stay ahead of trends, e.g. through the launch of plant-based products including milk alternatives. The performance of Nestlé’s coffee business, which experienced high single-digit growth in organic sales during H1 2023, was also a contributing factor to the company’s ranking – Brand Finance said Nespresso was the fastest growing non-alcoholic drink brand globally with a 208% value increase, at $2.9bn.

Savio D'Souza, Director of Valuation at Brand Finance, commented: “As an iconic global brand, Nestlé continues to raise the bar, setting new benchmarks for the industry and inspiring confidence among consumers around the world. With a rich heritage and A portfolio of trusted brands, Nestlé has built a legacy of success and an unrivaled global reputation, bolstered by its enduring dedication to creating a healthier and more sustainable future for all.”

Frozen food brand named fastest growing grocery brand

Meanwhile, Healthy Choice, a frozen food brand owned by ConAgra Foods, entered the top 100 ranking for the first time, its value growing by 190% to $1.2bn, making the brand the fastest-growing in the grocery category. Brand Finance commented that consumer demand for healthier food options and Healthy Choice’s strategic marketing for its products as nutritious and convenient were the key factors behind this brand’s growth.

Related topics Manufacturers Yili

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