The brand retains the title of world’s most valuable and strongest soft drink brand, with a brand value of $33.2bn – almost double that of second place Pepsi at $18.4bn. However, it has recorded a 13% decline in brand value this year.
And while Coca-Cola has declined in brand value, Dr Pepper has posted strong brand growth of 40%.
Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Red Bull
The annual rankings plot the world’s biggest soft drinks against each other, measuring brand value through the strength of brands as well as metrics on marketing investment, stakeholder equity and business performance.
“With a 129-year long history, Coca-Cola is still the most consumed soda in the world, with 1.9 billion servings, across 200 countries, enjoyed each day,” notes Brand Finance. “As with other brands globally, however, the brand’s parent company has not been immune to the impact of COVID-19, with the multinational forced to restructure and cut over 2,000 jobs.
“Coca-Cola continues to strive towards its CSR responsibilities, recently announcing its partnership with The Ocean Cleanup’s River Project, where it will utilise its global network to tackle the amount of plastic entering the oceans. This is just the latest prong in the company’s wider vision for a “World Without Waste”.
Pepsi, meanwhile, comes in at second place.
In terms of overall portfolios, however, PepsiCo comes out on top over The Coca-Cola Company. The top place is taken by Nestlé – whose products include Nespresso and Nescafé among many others - with a portfolio value of $65.6bn. PepsiCo comes in second with a portfolio value of $59.2bn, followed by The Coca-Cola Company at $48.6bn.
These giants are followed by Unilever, Mars, Danone, Mondelez, KraftHeinz, Groupe Lactalis and General Mills.
Dr Pepper and Red Bull are the fastest and second-fastest growing soft drink brands this year, recording a 40% and 15% brand value increase, respectively.
Dr Pepper – previously #11 on the rankings – is now in 8th place.
“Dr Pepper has celebrated increased popularity and sales over the previous several years and demand grew exponentially last year as American consumers took to ‘pantry-loading’ amid the panic-buying phase of the pandemic.
“Founded in 1987, Austria’s Red Bull is known for its unique marketing strategy which embraces extreme sports, celebrity endorsements, music, and more – an approach which sets the brand apart when it comes to connecting with consumers. This presence, paired with nearly eight million units sold of the drink in 2020 alone, has enabled the brand to grab the bull by the horns and solidify its third position in the Brand Finance Soft Drinks 50 2021 ranking.”
Not a good year for soft drinks
Dr Pepper and Red Bull's growth stands out in a year where the majority of food and drink sectors saw brand losses as the sector negotiates the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Soft drink brands are the most severely impacted, with the total value of the world’s top 25 most valuable soft drinks brands declining by 6%, from $114.8bn in 2020 to $107.5bn in 2021. The total brand value of food and chocolate brands have declined by 4% and 3%, respectively. The only subsector in the report to protect itself from a brand value loss is the dairy sector, which has maintained its total brand value year-on-year.
But this decline is only likely to be temporary. Savio D’Souza, Valuation Director, Brand Finance, said: "The COVID-19 pandemic has put a huge amount of pressure on the food & drink industry globally, from disrupted supply chains and panic buying, to a complete change in consumer habits. The result of this has led to the majority of brand values suffering this year across the sector. The future is not bleak, however, brands with high levels of familiarity and reputation are likely to bounce back successfully as we begin the return to normality.”