Special Report

The Most Valuable Food Brands in the World

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When we think of massive food brands, the ones that come to mind – Kellogg’s or Quaker, say – are actually just the tip of the global iceberg. You might be surprised to learn that just a handful of the world’s biggest food brands are U.S.-based – and there are a number that you’ve quite possibly never even heard of. (Food and otherwise, here are some classic American brands now owned by foreign companies.) 

The world’s largest food brands achieve that standing for a variety of reasons. Some have spent decades buying out competitors and cornering a specific market – Tyson with chicken (and, surprisingly, also with beef), for example – while others are parent companies to brands and products sold worldwide, like Lay’s, which owns snack brands from Rold Gold to Doritos.  

To compile a list of the 10 most valuable food brands in the world, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a global ranking by Brand Finance, a brand and business valuation consultancy that publishes more than 100 rankings a year. Brand Finance defines “brand” as the “Trademark and associated IP including the word mark and trademark iconography.” 

Click here to learn about the most valuable food brands in the world

The next time you find yourself staring at a wall of snack food or breakfast cereal at the supermarket, realize that many of those products are owned by the same brands – and those brands might be among the most valuable on earth. (These are the biggest grocery store chains in North America.)

Source: jremes84 / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

10. McCain
> Value in 2022: $5.3 billion
> Last year’s rank: 10
> Value in 2021: $4.3 billion
> Headquarters: Toronto, Canada
> Founded in: 1957

Established in New Brunswick, Canada, in 1957, McCain Foods is today the world’s largest manufacturer of frozen potato products, with over 20,000 employees worldwide. One out of every four French fries eaten worldwide was produced by McCain, and you’ll find plenty of their potato products in the freezer aisle, including their famous “Smiles.”

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9. Mengniu
> Value in 2022: $5.5 billion
> Last year’s rank: 9
> Value in 2021: $4.8 billion
> Headquarters: Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
> Founded in: 1999

Mengniu Dairy was founded in Inner Mongolia in 1999, and its growth since then has been astronomical. The Chinese company manufactures and distributes a wide variety of dairy products, including ice cream (“mengniu” is Chinese for “Mongolian cow). A primary reason for its success is high-profile advertising campaigns and sponsorships. It was a sponsor of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, for example.

8. Haitian
> Value in 2022: $5.8 billion
> Last year’s rank: 12
> Value in 2021: $3.7 billion
> Headquarters: Foshan, China
> Founded in: 1995

China’s Foshan Haitian Flavouring & Food Co. is the world’s largest manufacturer of soy sauce, a foundation of Chinese and other Asian cuisines. The company, which can trace its origins back to the 1600s, today manufactures not only soy sauce but also other sauces and condiments including oyster sauce, hoisin, fermented bean paste, and vinegars.

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7. Kellogg’s
> Value in 2022: $7.0 billion
> Last year’s rank: 4
> Value in 2021: $6.7 billion
> Headquarters: Battle Creek, Michigan
> Founded in: 1906

Battle Creek-based Kellogg’s famously got its start when brothers John Harvey Kellogg and W.K. Kellogg inadvertently invented flaked cereal by processing a batch of leftover wheat dough instead of throwing it out. That led to corn flakes, and to breakfast cereal as we know it today. The company is still best-known for its cereals, which include Rice Krispies and Frosted Flakes, but also for such snack brands as Pringles, Cheez-Its, and Pop-Tarts.

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6. Quaker
> Value in 2022: $7.1 billion
> Last year’s rank: 7
> Value in 2021: $5.1 billion
> Headquarters: Chicago, Illinois
> Founded in: 1877

The Quaker Oats company is most closely associated with its famous oatmeal, which has been gracing breakfast tables since 1877 – but today it’s also the company behind breakfast cereals including Cap’n Crunch and Life, Pearl Milling Company (formerly Aunt Jemima) pancake mix, Chewy Granola Bars, and Rice-A-Roni.

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5. Tyson
> Value in 2022: $7.2 billion
> Last year’s rank: 6
> Value in 2021: $6.3 billion
> Headquarters: Springdale, Arkansas
> Founded in: 1935

Arkansas-based Tyson Foods is the world’s second-largest processor of chicken, beef, and pork. The company supplies all the chicken to KFC, Taco Bell, Burger King, Wendy’s, and Wal-Mart, and also operates major food brands including Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm, and Ball Park – but is also the country’s largest beef exporter.

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4. Danone
> Value in 2022: $7.9 billion
> Last year’s rank: 3
> Value in 2021: $8.2 billion
> Headquarters: Paris, France
> Founded in: 1919

Founded in 1919, the French multinational Danone is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of baby formula, bottled water, and dairy products (especially yogurt). Its yogurt is sold under the brand name Dannon in the U.S., and its portfolio also includes Activia and Volvic water.

Source: mikeinlondon / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

3. Lay’s
> Value in 2022: $8.6 billion
> Last year’s rank: 5
> Value in 2021: $6.6 billion
> Headquarters: Plano, Texas
> Founded in: 1940

Lay’s, formally known as Frito-Lay, was founded in 1961 when two companies Fritos and Lay’s Potato Chips formally merged. Today, it’s a massive snack food company, with primary snack food brands under its umbrella including Fritos, Cheetos, Doritos, Tostitos, Lay’s, Ruffles, Sun Chips, Cracker Jack, and Rold Gold.

2. Yili
> Value in 2022: $10.6 billion
> Last year’s rank: 2
> Value in 2021: $9.6 billion
> Headquarters: Hohhot, China
> Founded in: 1993

China’s most valuable food & beverage company, Yili Group is a dairy products producer based in Inner Mongolia. Founded in 1993, it produces milk and other dairy including ice cream, milk tea powder, powdered milk, and organic milk.

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1. Nestlé
> Value in 2022: $20.8 billion
> Last year’s rank: 1
> Value in 2021: $19.4 billion
> Headquarters: Vevey, Switzerland
> Founded in: 1866

You might only know Nestlé as a chocolate company, but this Swiss company is actually the world’s largest food company as measured by revenue and several other metrics. The company has 447 factories in 189 countries, and its more than 2,000 products include not just chocolate but also baby food, bottled water, breakfast cereals, coffee and tea, frozen foods, pet food, dairy products, ice cream, and snack foods. Its best-known brands include Nesquik, Carnation, Taster’s Choice, Nespresso, DiGiorno, Hot Pockets, Lean Cuisine, Boost, Toll-House cookie dough, and, for pets, Purina and Alpo.

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