Coca-Cola is most chosen brand but Colgate has biggest reach, study reveals

Coca-Cola is the world’s most popular brand, chosen 5.3bn times a year, according to Kantar Worldpanel’s Brand Footprint ranking.

The soft drinks manufacturer reaches its number one spot by combining a high penetration of 44% with the highest global frequency of purchase (15 times per year on average). 

The report highlights the opportunities for growth that exist, with only one brand in the world – Colgate – reaching more than half of the global population (65% penetration) with its oral care products.

Kantar Worldpanel’s Brand Footprint ranking reveals which brands are already achieving global success and provides insight that will help other FMCG brands with international ambitions to set global targets more accurately and improve their global business growth.

Brands in the ranking all have a consistent brand offer across the globe and have demonstrated their ability to understand and respond to local needs and build the best distribution networks that reach the most remote consumers in rural areas of emerging markets. However all of the brands still have plenty of room to recruit more shoppers in new geographies, new targets, new segments or on new occasions.

The top 10 global FMCG brands revealed by the Brand Footprint study are:

Rank Brand Consumer Reach Points (Million) Penetration


Frequency of purchase Consumer Reach Points growth % 2012 v 2011
1 Coca-Cola 5,295 43.9% 15 0%
2 Colgate 3,330 65.4% 6 +5%
3 Nescafé 2,270 26% 11 -1.5%
4 Pepsi 1,797 27.9% 8 +2%
5 Lifebuoy 1,751 32% 8 +1%
6 Maggi 1,580 26.7% 7 +4%
7 Pantene 1,456 31.9% 6 -2%
8 Knorr 1,290 27.6% 6 +1%
9 Lay’s 1,142 26.1% 5 +3%
10 Dove 1,117 33.7% 4 +18%

Other key highlights include:

  • 13 billionaire brands – 13 global brands are chosen by consumers more than one billion times a year – Coca-Cola, Colgate, Nescafé, Pepsi, Lifebuoy, Maggi, Pantene, Knorr, Lay’s, Dove, Lux, Palmolive and Tide 
  • Emerging markets drive 98% growth for the growing brands in the Top 50. Further, six of the top 10 brands in the ranking show significant increases in their growth driven by the emerging markets – Coca-Cola, Colgate, Dove, Maggi, Nescafé and Pepsi. Coca-Cola increased its growth in these territories by 7%, gaining 230 million Consumer Reach Points
  • Global success doesn’t rely on being present in developed markets – the report reveals how a brand can achieve high penetration and sales without a high presence in developed markets. Japanese cooking seasoning brand Ajinomoto (no 19 in global ranking) for example reaches virtually no households in Europe and only 2.6% in the US. Tang, the most likely new entrant into the ‘billionaire club’ with its powdered drinks, is popular in emerging markets and the fourth biggest global beverage brand despite only reaching 13% of households
  • Some manufacturers grow global by acquiring local – availability in some emerging markets remains a challenge for global brands, which is why some manufacturers, such as Heinz, chose to acquire local brands. Purchases by Heinz (no 26 in the ranking) have given it control of the world’s number one Worcestershire sauce brand Lea & Perrins, Brazilian tomato-based sauce Quero and China’s premium soy sauce Master Weijixian
  • Globalisation is on the rise – although international brand owners are driven by social- demographic and cultural trends, consumers often don’t differentiate between local and global brands. To achieve significant household penetration locally a global brand must know its consumers intimately and not impose the brand’s home culture on the local market. Colgate for instance achieves 86% penetration in India compared to 65% globally by having excellent urban and rural availability and by adapting to the local market with smaller pack sizes
  • Local brand giants – 23 local brands around the world achieve more than 500 million Consumer Reach Points: Roma, Tora Bika, Molto, So Klin, Energen, Sasa, Daia, Ekonomi and Sarimi in Indonesia; Lucky Me in the Philippines; Clinic Plus, Ghadi, Fair & Lovely and Tata Salt in India; Lala and Gamesa in Mexico; Wahaha, Shuanghui, Want Want and Bright in China; Almarai in Saudi Arabia and, finally, Oscar Meyer in the US and Warburtons in the UK

Josep Montserrat, Global CEO of Kantar Worldpanel, said: “Now brands demand more in-depth analysis of their current basket reach compared to their competitors and opportunities for growth around the world. The Brand Footprint report provides this.  As the pressure to maintain and increase growth intensifies for FMCG manufacturers, brand consumer base expansion and significant increase of loyalty is more critical than ever.  Consumer Reach Points reveals which brands are already achieving global success and provides insight that will help other FMCG brands with international ambitions to set global targets more accurately and improve their global business growth.”