As e-commerce accounts for a growing share of packaged food sales, manufacturers are approaching digital with a renewed focus. Food brands have stepped up investments in online retailers, in addition to focusing on mobile tools and social media. The number of brands in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Food without mobile sites fell by half this year, and more than half of brands that lacked Instagram accounts at the time of last year’s study now use the image-sharing platform.

 Top 10 Food brands

1. Kraft
Digital IQ: 157

Kraft surpasses Betty Crocker as this year’s top brand thanks to its recently launched Instagram page, as well as an increased emphasis on mobile advertising. The brand invested in more than 250 creatives in the past year and is also a major advertiser across desktop and video platforms. As a result, Kraft achieves impressive results in both SEO and SEM for brand and category search.

2. Betty Crocker
Digital IQ: 153

Despite losing the top spot, Betty Crocker remains the top-performing brand in organic search, appearing organically for 15% of search terms. The brand, which has built a reputation on its offline cookbooks, also leverages that equity online with over 15,000 recipes and a best-in-class mobile app. The online recipes feature a store locator and coupons for major retailers like Walmart, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s, encouraging casual browsers to take the next step and shop for ingredients.

3. Kellogg’s
Digital IQ: 152

Kellogg’s surges to third place on high Facebook engagement and strong web advertising impressions, helping its parent enterprise Kellogg Co. claim the highest average Digital IQ weighted by sales among the eight multi-brand enterprises represented in the Index. With engagement on Facebook continuing to be a function of paid spend, Kellogg’s proves the rule, generating nearly three in four interactions from paid content despite promoting only a few posts.

4. Pillsbury
Digital IQ: 148

Pillsbury continues to rise on social media, outperforming brands with larger Facebook communities by earning close to three million interactions. In comparison, the average brand sees only 365,000 interactions. The brand also scores high view counts on both Facebook and YouTube for instructional videos like “Sausage, Egg, And Cheese Roll-ups,” which garners more paid views than any other video by an Index brand.

Pillsbury

5. Campbell’s
Digital IQ: 147

The only brand to join the Genius category after redesigning its homepage and adding to its recipe content, Campbell’s has the highest brand search equity in the Index on Google. The brand performs well against category terms such as “condensed soups,” leading consumers to both the brand site and corporate recipe site, and also makes those recipes easy to access from the home page and Facebook page as well as third-party sites including AllRecipes and Yummly.

5. McCormick
Digital IQ: 147

McCormick stands out for earning the most Facebook engagement in the Index. Notably, 70% of the brand’s engagement is organic – nearly three times the Index average. Its Instagram account also garners high engagement with food and product-focused posts, and McCormick is one of just three brands featuring personalized recipes on the brand site, allowing consumers to filter content based on criteria such as allergies or favorite foods.

7. Hellmann’s
Digital IQ: 138

Hellmann’s encourages consumer engagement on product pages with its “How Do You #Hellmanns” user-generated content feed, leveraging an opportunity that many Food brands miss. Additionally, the brand boasts a bustling ratings and reviews community, with each product receiving significant feedback from consumers, and generates high visibility on Amazon and Walmart for relevant category keywords.

Hellmann's

8. Hershey’s
Digital IQ: 133 

Hershey’s brand site benefits from high traffic thanks to its seamless integration of customized content and key site features. As a result, consumers gain access to both candy products and recipe pages through one centralized hub – a testament to the unified site architecture that helps Hershey’s Co. outperform peer candy conglomerate Mars Inc. in the enterprise ranking. The brand also racked up the highest Twitter fan growth in the past year, gaining 150,000 followers.

9. Gerber
Digital IQ: 132

Because parents often choose one brand of baby food and stick to it, these brands have a particularly strong motivation to achieve high visibility. Gerber is the most successful, consistently appearing for more than half of search terms – five times the visibility of Enfamil and Similac – and owning nearly a quarter of the real estate for each of those terms. The brand site also stands out, offering preparation information, product highlights, reviews, ratings, and videos.

10. Ghirardelli
Digital IQ: 131

Ghirardelli slips from the Genius category to Gifted this year after losing out on Google and Amazon search equity and failing to compete with top brands on recipe content. However, its Instagram community ballooned by 623% and the brand achieves the highest visibility for category terms like “chocolate” in both organic and paid search.

 10. Similac
Digital IQ: 131

While Gerber wins the top spot in the baby food subcategory, Similac owns the most category term search results on Walmart. Additionally, the brand’s sophisticated site account helps parents track growth.

 

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