Weekly Brandweek column for BrandIndex: Foods and beverages

YouGov Names Top Food/Beverage Brands

Aug 6, 2010

With summer in full swing, the buzz scores of beverage brands are also hot, driven by consumer need to quench their thirst. Overall in 2010, however, Ritz remains the most popular snack brand, and Subway steals the spotlight as the quick service restaurant that offers the most value to consumers, according to market research firm YouGov.

The Brandweek BrandIndex Report by YouGov is a weekly consumer perception report that analyzes the most talked about brands based on buzz: The scores are based on weighing positive and negative perceptions of a brand. A +100 score is positive, a -100 score is negative, and a rating of zero means that the score is neutral. This week's report also measures brands based on value.

YouGov interviews 5,000 people each weekday from a representative U.S. population sample. Respondents are drawn from an online panel of 1.5 million individuals.

Hot Weather Equals Hot Brands
Record July heat played right into the hands of savvy marketers. For the second month in a row, beverage brands dominated the rankings of the most improved buzz scores.

In July, four of the top 10 brands made up this sector: Country Time Lemonade, V8 juices, Crystal Light (a repeat winner), and Bacardi.

On the dining front, both Quiznos—which launched a new campaign featuring singing cats—and Long John Silver landed on the chart as well.

Most Favored Snacks of 2010
Ritz is the most favored snack brand so far this year, both, among adults over 18 and 18-34. There is roughly a 20-point gap between Ritz and the no. 10 brand on each chart (see below), indicating true consumer love for the crackers.

There is a lot of brand crossover preferences between the demographics, with some notable exceptions: Pringles, Kettle Chips, and especially Sunchips are heavily favored by the 18-34 crowd, while Fritos and Cheetos rate higher with adults over 18. Sunchips, Ritz and Wheat Thins dominate the 18-34 demo chart.

(This special chart was created with BrandIndex’s Index score, which averages the sub-scores of quality, satisfaction, value, impression, recommend and reputation.)

Top Fast Food Chains (by Value) of 2010
2010 has been the year of the submarine, led by the outstanding scores of Subway. Consumers over 18 have given this category the best value perception readings of all QSR sectors—consistently around a 45 score.

At the same time, the burger chains' value score average has slid from 42 to 38, opening up a gap between the burger chains and the sandwich chains. Overall, modest gains by McDonald’s and Hardee’s were not enough to offset negative numbers from Backyard Burgers, Krystal and Carl’s Jr.

Two food sectors, however, have shown plenty of value perception gains this year. Pizza, which has logged several points since early February, led the sector with Domino’s and Pizza Hut. Meanwhile, Mexican, which slid five points through March and April, has rebounded to place just ahead of the pizza sector.

Chicken chains, such as Boston Market and KFC, have hardly moved the value score needle so far this year.