By Euromonitor International
New research from Euromonitor International reveals that Danone holds the top spot as the world's leading health and wellness (H&W) packaged food company. Nestlé – the world's undisputed leader in the overall packaged food industry - now finds itself playing second fiddle to Danone in the health and wellness food arena. The gap between Danone and Nestlé in the H&W food market was very tight indeed, however, with Danone recording total H&W food value sales of US$6.1 billion, beating Nestlé by a mere US$46 million.
The path to success is awash with dairy
To be fair, Danone has a major advantage when it comes to asserting itself in the health and wellness stakes: it is the world's leading dairy player, and dairy products are renowned for their health properties and benefits. In fact, one third of the global dairy sector, which clocked in at just under US$300 billion in 2005, was classified as H&W, according to Euromonitor International. Danone was the clear leader in H&W dairy, with value sales of US$5.8 billion, followed by Yakult with sales of US$3.2 billion, and Nestlé with sales of US$2.8 billion.
Nestlé plays it clever with fingers in every pie
While Danone relies heavily on dairy dominance, Nestlé is present in 11 packaged food sectors – making it the top player in terms of sector penetration. After dairy, Danone's H&W food sales are generated from bakery products with US$276 million in 2005, sweet and savoury snacks with US$106 million, plus marginal amounts from snack bars and baby food. Nestlé, on the other hand, has big clout in ready meals (it is, after all, the world's top maker of ready meals) with H&W value sales of US$1.5 billion. The company also features prominently in H&W snack bars, H&W ice cream and H&W frozen processed food but also has a smaller presence in H&W confectionery, sauces, dressings and condiments, soup, spreads and pasta.
Other global H&W food sector leaders were William Wrigley Jr Co, who dominated H&W confectionery with value sales of US$4.5 billion, beating off chief rival Cadbury Schweppes by a margin of US$300 million, according to Euromonitor International. Kellogg performed strongly in H&W bakery and Unilever led in oils and fats as well as in ice cream.
And which is the biggest brand of them all…?
Despite its absolute supremacy in the sector when it comes to value sales, dairy queen Danone is missing but one jewel in her crown: the claim to the world's top H&W dairy brand, which also turns out to be the world's best-selling H&W food brand overall. The honours go to Yakult Honsha Co Ltd, with its eponymous fermented milk drink. Yakult generated value sales of US$2.2 billion in 2005, leaving its chief rival Actimel (Danone) trailing far behind with US$1.5 billion. Although sold in 26 countries, Yakult's sales are overwhelmingly concentrated in the Asia Pacific region, particularly in its Japanese home market. In Western Europe, Actimel is the leading H&W food brand, while in North America, Nestlé is top dog with its Stouffer's Lean Cuisine brand of ready meals.
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