BOSTON — The Kellogg Co. made a leap recently that would make Tony the Tiger proud. The Battle Creek, Mich.-based company jumped 10 spots in the Reputation Institute’s annual survey of America’s most reputable companies in the consumer category, claiming the top spot, just ahead of Lego and Fruit of the Loom. Among all companies, Kellogg’s came in at No. 2, trailing only Amazon.
“Even in this very product-focused category, only about 30% of what drives reputation relates to a company’s products and services,” said Brad Hecht, chief research officer at Reputation Institute. “Kellogg’s has focused on health and nutrition and creating quality products, but in its conversations with consumers it also showcases its commitment to sustainable agriculture practices, childhood nutrition, and open and transparent labeling.”
The list of America’s top 50 most reputable consumer companies is derived from the data collected for the 2015 US RepTrak 100 study, which is based on more than 50,000 interviews with the U.S. general public. The RepTrak system measures a company’s ability to deliver on stakeholder expectations in the seven key rational dimensions of reputation, products/services, innovation, workplace, governance, citizenship, leadership and financial performance.
In addition to Kellogg’s, other food and beverage companies that ranked in the top 10 in the overall consumer industry were Campbell Soup Co. (No. 4), Hershey Co. (No. 6) and Kraft Foods (No. 8). Hershey was the No. 1 ranked consumer company in 2014, and Campbell Soup was No. 1 in 2013.
Looking specifically at the top 10 consumer brands in the food and beverage industry, Kellogg’s led the way, followed by Campbell Soup, Hershey, Kraft, General Mills, Inc., Lavazza, J.M. Smucker Co., Dole, Ferrero and Groupe Danone.
In 2015, three U.S. food and beverage companies had “excellent” reputations, which corresponded to a score over 80. They were Kellogg’s (81.50), Campbell Soup (80.29) and Hershey (80). All of the top 10 companies had a score of at least 75.
The Reputation Institute said Kellogg’s had one of the most improved reputations in the industry, jumping from a “strong” to an “excellent” reputation. Its score improved to 81.50 from 77.42. ConAgra Foods, meanwhile, had among the sharpest reputation decreases in the industry, falling from an “average” reputation to a “weak” reputation.
According to the survey, Kellogg’s saw improvements in multiple supportive behaviors between 2014 and 2015, including a nearly 10 percentage point increase in “willingness to buy,” rising to 75% in 2015 from 66% in 2014. The percentage of consumers who said they would recommend Kellogg’s also improved, increasing to 70% from 65%, while the percentage who said they trust the company increased to 64% from 62%.“Kellogg is very proud to be one of the America’s most reputable companies, but the most rewarding part is that every day, millions of American families put their trust in Kellogg brands and foods,” Kellogg’s said.