Top 5 largest food and beverage companies stay the same

At first glance, the 2020 Top 100 Food and Beverage Companies appear to be much the same as the last couple years.

The top 5 companies — Nestlé, PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch InBev, JBS and Tyson Foods, in order — are the same, and although there was some movement in spots 6–10, the companies in those spots have been around the top 10 range for several years.

The list also has not yet shown the full effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as companies have not yet reported full- or fiscal-year revenue for 2020. The pandemic has led to a surge in retail demand as consumers work from home or eat at home instead of going to restaurants, but it also has some of the largest companies rethinking how they’re approaching product development and creation, says Amy Shipley, managing partner and director, SRG.

“We’re seeing a significant uptick in product innovation, especially within retail and CPG,” says Shipley. “Companies seemed to have taken their eye off the innovation ball, and with consumers shopping and cooking more from home, they realized it was time to get back in the game. Consumers are already tiring of their ‘go-to’ staples at home, and also will be seeking new product experiences. And for those consumers who don’t like to cook, we’re seeing meal kits and more value-added products added to both the fresh and prepared areas of the store.”

This year, we are showcasing the top 10 companies with their own profile pages following this story, as well as expanded charts to share more information on how companies’ performance compared to the previous year. But here’s a look at some of the more interesting information to be gleaned from the 2020 Top 100 list.

The top of the heap

Nestlé once again holds the top spot by a wide margin over №2 PepsiCo, although it narrowed a bit this year. Nestlé’s food revenue was $76.8 billion, down from the previous year’s $80.2 billion. PepsiCo saw revenue increase by about $2.5 billion, from $64.7 billion to $67.2 billion.

PepsiCo Chief Insights and Analysts Officer Stephan Gans says the company has seen success across a number of its different brands, on both the food and beverage sides of its business.

“We’ve been encouraged by the success of our brands such as Quaker, where we just reported an increase in organic revenue of 23% in Q2 2020, and a 55% increase in profit during the same period,” says Gans. “Looking ahead, we’ll need to determine what behavioral changes are going to stick with us and leverage those opportunities to deliver consumers what they want in the new shape of their lives — whether it’s more customization like we’ve rolled out with our Gatorade Gx ecosystem that provides fueling recommendations specific to an individual athlete, or more sustainable hydration options like SodaStream that lets consumers personalize hydration and reduce single-use packaging at the same time.”

№3 Anheuser-Busch InBev saw revenue decline to $52.3 billion from the previous year’s restated total of $53 billion, but the company saw some bright spots among its brands as they grew outside of their home countries. The company’s flagship Budweiser brand saw growth of 3.3% outside the United States, while Stella Artois grew by 6.5% outside of Belgium. Corona saw a 21% increase in sales outside of Mexico, with China and South Africa being particularly strong markets.

Rounding out the top 5 are a pair of companies heavily focused on protein. JBS and Tyson Foods both saw revenue increase by about $2 billion compared to the previous year.

“Some of our brands have roots back 600 years ago, and while the beer is definitely different today, it has mostly been a journey of learning and perfecting, passing knowledge from generation to generation to be where we are today with our legacy brands.”

–Charles Nouwen, Global Head of Passion for Beer, Anheuser-Busch InBev

Newcomers, risers and fallers

Four companies entered the Top 100 this year, with Monster Beverage Corporation ranking the highest at №93. The company had revenue of about $4.2 billion, or more than $400 million than the previous year, as the energy drink sector continued to be a strong performer.

“Energy drinks continue to be beloved and they have cultivated a passionate base of loyalists,” says Shipley.

Other companies entering the Top 100 this year were Anadolu Efes (№96, $4.1 billion in revenue); Barilla (№99, $3.9 billion) and Lamb Weston (№100, $3.8 billion).

Upcoming challenges

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are not fully seen on this list due to most of the companies reporting final year results in December 2019. But there can be no question that it is forcing food and beverage companies to adapt quickly to surges in retail demand, workforce challenges and implementing strategies for social distancing and worker protection.

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