Wellness and clean eating might be having a moment, but when it comes to the products that are propelling the performance of the world’s largest food and beverage companies, beer, chocolate and coffee are overpowering quinoa, kale and kombucha.
According to the 2018 Forbes Global 2000 — our annual and comprehensive list of the world’s most powerful public companies as measured by a composite score of revenue, profit, assets and market value — Anheuser-Busch, Nestle and Pepsico are the top three food and drink companies in the world.
Anheuser-Busch jumped 85 spots to #41 on the 2018 Global 2000 thanks to its $56 billion in revenue and $7.9 billion in profit recorded in the twelve months ending on May 11. The improvement was good enough to put the beer giant at the top of the food and beverage sector, breaking Nestle’s winning streak and bumping the chocolate, coffee and ice cream conglomerate to #2 in the food and drink sector. Despite growth plays Nestle made last year — like its acquiring of a majority stake in hipster roaster Blue Bottle Coffee in September — the company dropped 14 spots to #48 overall on the Global 2000. On a year-over-year basis, its revenue remained stable at $91 billion, but its profit slipped to $7.3 billion (compared to the $8.6 billion in profit it recorded in the period analyzed for 2017 Global 2000).
Coming in at #3 for the sector and #102 overall is Pepsico, which in response to global wellness trends has in recent quarters started dividing its brand portfolio into “fun for you,” “better for you” and “good for you” categories. At the end of 2017, the company said that the “better for you” and “good for you” categories (which contain products like Quaker Oats, Sabra hummus and Naked Juice) now account for 50% of its product offerings, up from about 38% ten years ago. This shift translated to $64 billion in revenue and $4.9 billion in profit for the twelve months ending on May 11.
Pepsi competitor Coca-Cola KO +0.07% recorded one of the biggest drops for a food and drink company on the Global 2000: last year, the company came in 86th overall, while this year it sits at #209. Its $33 billion in sales and $1.4 billion in profit were good enough, however, to qualify the company for 7th place in the food and drink sector.
The top 25 companies in the sector generated $749.3 billion in revenue last year and $137 billion in profit, up from $741.2 billion and $86 billion, respectively, recorded by the sector’s top 25 in 2017. To see the top 25, and the full Global 2000, click through here:
For more coverage of the Forbes Global 2000 ranking of the world’s largest public companies, see below: