Customer satisfaction with food manufacturers slips for the first time in three years, according to a report released by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Rising prices are partly to blame as customer satisfaction with food manufacturers falls 2.4% to an ACSI score of 81 on a 0–100 scale. Smaller manufacturers and store brands are down 2% to 80, shouldering most of the loss.
Perennial leader Heinz remains on top despite slipping 2% to 87, but for first time in more than a decade, Heinz shares the lead with General Mills (+5%) and Quaker (+1%). Kraft shows the most improvement, advancing 6% to 86 and surpassing Campbell Soup (84) and ConAgra (83), while Hershey (+1% to 86) inches ahead of both Mars (84) and Nestlé (83).
Customer satisfaction with soft drinks is unchanged at 84, despite weakened demand for carbonated beverages. Soda consumption continues to decline as consumers increasingly turn to energy drinks, tea, and bottled water, forcing beverage makers to focus on new and different products.
Despite a 1% dip, Dr Pepper Snapple still beat both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo in customer satisfaction with an ACSI score of 86. However, PepsiCo is the only major soft drink producer to improve customer satisfaction this year, breaking its three-year tie with Coca-Cola by edging up 1% to 85. Coca-Cola is stable at 84. The cola rivals have remained within two ACSI points of each other for nearly 20 years.