Surging annual profit at Nestle has helped the water and chocolate giant take back the title of the’s world’s largest food company—a title it held for a decade before Anheuser-Busch InBev temporarily dethroned it last year.
Nestle’s profit last year topped $10.3 billion, an increase of 42%. It’s one of the key metrics that Forbes uses each year to analyze companies as part of the 2019 Forbes Global 2000 list—the comprehensive ranking of the world’s most powerful public companies as measured by a composite score of revenue, profit, assets and market value. On the list overall, Nestle jumped to #42, six spots up from last year, while AB InBev dropped 28 spots to #69.
The beer conglomerate’s fall on the list is thanks to profits declining 45% to $4.3 billion last year, while revenue decreased 3% last year to $54 billion. Another big drop comes from Kraft-Heinz, which (like AB InBev) was put together in a high-profile merger led by 3G Capital. It dropped in the rankings to #548, from #126 overall. The maker of Philadelphia cream cheese and Planter’s peanuts has had a tough year: In February, it announced a $15 billion writedown of its Kraft and Oscar Mayer brands, slashed its dividend and disclosed an SEC probe into its accounting. Since then, the stock has tanked some 32%. A new CEO, a former marketing guru from AB InBev, will take over in July.
Third for the food and restaurant sector is PepsiCo, the same rank it held across the industry last year. Profits at the maker of Kevita kombucha and Frito-Lay increased 157%—the biggest increase of any food company on the list.
The top 25 companies in the sector generated $1.1 trillion in revenue last year, up from $749 billion, while profits for the sector dropped to $83 billion from $137 billion last year.