In 2013, Barilla’s reputation took a hit when chairman Guido Barilla made homophobic remarks in a radio interview. Just two years later, thanks to CEO Claudio Colzani’s quick action, Barilla scored 100% on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. And this year, Barilla is once again the top-ranked food company on the 2021 Global RepTrak 100, coming at #11.

Corporate reputation is a slippery topic — it’s difficult to measure, as are its implications for a company’s success (despite the chairman’s misstep, Barilla’s revenue still grew in 2013). But there are signs that reputation is becoming more important to the bottom line. Deloitte has identified “connecting purpose to profit” as an important future-focused strategy as consumers pay more attention to issues like sustainability, social justice, equality, and environmental consciousness. Just last week, we published an article on Morning Consult’s 2021 most trusted brands study that showed these types of issues are also key elements of consumer trust, which in turn influences purchasing behavior.

So, how do you quantify reputation?

RepTrak, the reputation intelligence company that produces the Global RepTrak 100, looks at seven factors:

  • Products and services
  • Innovation
  • Workplace
  • Governance
  • Citizenship
  • Leadership
  • Performance

While the quality of products and services has been the top driver of reputation since the company started tracking in 2015, citizenship (i.e., actively trying to make the world a better place) has moved up in importance — from tied for fifth to third.

Overall, the food and beverage industry did well in this year’s survey, which assessed companies that have global revenue above $2 billion and achieve a global average familiarity threshold above 20%. Food and beverage came in sixth among industries with a score of 73.3 (any score above 70 is considered “strong”). Overall, the industry’s ESG (environmental, social, and governance) scores were just average — but they were also in line with almost all industries measured.

A total of nine food and beverage companies made the list:

  • #11 – Barilla
  • #18 – Danone
  • #19 – Ferrero
  • #30 – Kellogg’s
  • #53 – Lavazza
  • #57 – Kraft Heinz
  • #59 – Mars
  • #76 – Hershey
  • #85 – Nestle

For more information, as well as an analysis of what Barilla is doing right, download the full report.