ANN ARBOR, MICH. – Is satisfaction guaranteed? Not necessarily with food makers, whose favor fell among U.S. consumers by 2.4% since last year, according to an annual report from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (A.C.S.I.).
Infographic: See how food and beverage manufacturers fare among the consumers surveyed.
Rising prices may have spurred the slip – the first in the food category in three years. Meanwhile, satisfaction levels for other household goods held high and steady.
The A.C.S.I. measures customer evaluations of household products and services on a scale of 0 to 100 based on interviews with approximately 70,000 U.S. consumers each year.
Sharing the lead among the highest-ranking companies are the H.J. Heinz Co. and General Mills, each posting a benchmark score of 87, but satisfaction with Heinz fell 2.2% since last year. Ratings also dipped 2.4% for Nestle, which recently has been in talks to trim its portfolio of underperforming brands.
Making the largest leap was Kraft Foods, whose satisfaction rating climbed 6% from 2012.
Customer satisfaction stagnated for soft drinks, in spite of softened demand within the category. PepsiCo, Inc. was the only major soft drink producer to improve its rating this year, but the Dr Pepper Snapple Group holds a higher score than its competitors. Adding better-for-you options, such as sports drinks and bottled water, may benefit the brands, the A.C.S.I. said.“While soda consumption isn’t likely to evaporate, soft drink manufacturers are certainly on the right track adding ‘healthier’ beverages like sport drinks and bottled water to their brands,” said David VanAmburg, director of the A.C.S.I. “If soft drink makers are going to continue to enjoy high levels of customer satisfaction, it will be critical that they adapt to changing consumer preferences. In the bottled water segment, Coca-Cola’s Dasani and PepsiCo’s Aquafina brands already dominate the U.S. market.”