Since the pandemic began, shoppers have been buying a lot of packaged food and household cleaners, boosting revenue for major CPG manufacturers such as Kraft Heinz Company and Procter & Gamble.
In earnings calls and interviews, industry executives have described this shift in behavior as a return to big-name brands that people know and trust. Americans, they said, are seeking comfort and certainty in an uncomfortable and uncertain time. And recent survey data puts some weight behind these claims.
A new report from Morning Consult shows that nearly half of the top 50 brands people love most belong to the CPG industry, either in the food and beverage sector or household and personal care. These brands range from Ritz (No. 46), Lay’s (No. 47), M&M’s (No. 8) and Cheerios (No. 11) to Clorox (No. 6), Ziploc (No. 14), Febreze (No. 48) and Charmin (No. 49).
“When things are stressful, you go to what you trust, what’s been reliable,” said Victoria Sakal, who authored the report and serves as Morning Consult’s managing director of brand intelligence.
The figures come from a nationally representative sample of over 150,000 U.S. adults who rated more than 1,900 brands across 14 product categories in June and July. On average, each brand was rated by 6,000 participants. The data intelligence firm generated its “love” score using four metrics: favorability, trust, community impact and willingness to recommend.
Part of the reason people have a positive impression of the CPG industry comes down to availability, explained Sakal. “If a brand is present and able to be used in a pandemic, it’s going to fuel this flywheel of affinity and love,” she continued.
In recent months, CPG companies have been cutting down on product iterations to reduce manufacturing and supply chain complications. That has meant fewer versions of chicken noodle soup from General Mills and a temporary absence of fruit pies from Conagra Brands. The strategy has improved the industry’s ability to keep best-selling items on store shelves and meet increased demand during the Covid-19 crisis.
Another source behind America’s fondness for household goods is years of marketing. Research found that people tend to like well-known brands that have been around for a long time and that they’ve seen on TV.
“No person wants to admit that advertising works on them or that something being popular sways their decisions, but ultimately these latent drivers do play a role in people’s preference for loved brands,” said Sakal.
Recent results from the Axios Harris Poll 100, an annual survey that ranks the reputation of the country’s 100 most prominent companies and organizations, also puts the CPG industry in a positive light. Of all the consumer goods companies evaluated in the survey, such as Hershey’s, PepsiCo and Unilever, each received a score of either excellent or very good.
“Now more than ever, companies that performed well on traditional reputation measures and responded to our global health crisis have the best reputations,” said John Gerzema, CEO of The Harris Poll, in a statement.
Overall, the top five brands shoppers love most right now, according to Morning Consult, involve a combination of logistics and tech: the United States Postal Service (No. 1), Google (No. 2), UPS (No. 3), Amazon (No. 4) and Netflix (No. 5).