World's Most Popular Brand Name Food?

Recently, I was watching the Iron Chef, and I noticed a familiar little red bottle of Tabasco sauce on the Iron Chef’s work table. This set me to wondering if it’s the most popular brand hot sauce throughout the world. A check on the web informed me that it’s available in 105 countries.

Leaving aside soda and beer brands, is this the most popular brand name food product in the world? What other popular brand name foodstuffs are so widely known and used?

I don’t think you can leave aside soda names, because my WAG would be that “Coca-Cola” is at the top of the list, worldwide.

Second, maybe “Marlboro” (as in cigarettes–remember those?).

Third, would “McDonalds” count? Or are you just talking about specific food items?

Fritos? Spam? Hershey’s chocolate?

I would have to disagree with Hershey’s chocolate. I had never heard of it until quite recently (I’m in the UK) and it is prolly less popular in places like France and Belgium (both known for their chocolate).

I would agree with Coke and would prolly say Pepsi too. On a slightly different note, there are things like car companies and obviously computer giants (not to mention electronics companies).

I think food is quite a difficult one, because there are lots of differences across the world. Each country tends to have it’s own “style” or “national cuisine” making many foods less popular than a home brand.

Just my tuppence worth.


All excellent questions. I wanted to leave sodas and beer out, otherwise they would probably dominate the list. Also, I’d like to leave restaurants out. I’m interested in finding out if someone sitting in Anywhereistan pulls the same brand name stuff off of their pantry shelf as I do off of mine. As far as cigarettes go, well I like a good Benson & Hedges Casserole as well as the next guy, but…:slight_smile:

Spam might be right in the ballpark though. Fritos? I don’t know if American brand snack foods get much play across the various ponds. When a family member came back from a year in Germany, he was craving Doritos. Conversely, I’m upset that we don’t get the plethora of crisp flavors that those in the UK seem to.

Spam and Tabasco. America’s contribution to the global groaning sideboard?

Leaving out soda, beer and restaurants makes things a little hard. After all, Coca-Cola is the most consumed beverage on earth (It recently surpassed coffee and tea.)

I would put money on Doritos, Lay’s potato chips, and, as already mentioned, Spam and Tobasco sauce.

Purd Werfect, your taste in TV is commendable. Allez cuisine!

Here’s an odd candidate;

Kikkoman Soy Sauce

This product is shipped all around the planet. Try and count the Chinese restaurants where you’ve seen their little cruets.

I would also venture that it is used in vastly larger quantities than Tabasco sauce which would have been my other suggestion.

You may be right about Kikkoman Soy Sauce having the largest non-soda food product market, Zenster. A look here suggests that they have substantial global market penetration. As for more soy sauce being used than Tabasco, that would make sense. A little Tabasco goes a long way.

‘Heinz’ is a brand name with quite staggering market penetration worldwide, but as it’s not one specific product probably doesn’t qualify for this thread.

Not a winner, or even near the Top 10, but an oddity worth mentioning is Newcastle Brown Ale. Given that this is rather an acquired taste as beers go, and given that its name obviously attaches it to one city in north-east England, it is surprising just how far and wide it is found. I actually like the stuff, and I drank it in France, Italy, Malta, Dallas, New York, Los Angeles and Canberra before I actually got the chance to sample it in Newcastle.

Surprisingly, I had to visit 10 pubs in Newcastle (down the Bigg market) before I found one that sold the stuff! We were told by the other 9 that “no-one round 'ere wants it”. Imagine “Newcastle Brown Ale” being more readily available in Dallas than in Newcastle itself! Any other products named after one place but more readily found anywhere else but?

Of course it’s a food thread that finally coaxes me out of lurker mode… I am just surprised no one has mentioned Jell-o. Is it as big outside the States as it is here? And maybe a better question is, can it really be considered food?

Kind of a disturbing thought…

Re Jell-o I don’t think it matters much in the UK (not that the UK matters much in world markets either of course). By the way, hello and welcome gelid and does your user name reflect an unusual enthusiasm for Jell-o, I wonder.

As for the OP, wouldn’t it be fun if it turned out to be something not usually thought of - something that sneakily gets on with world domination without the massive publicity of Coca-Cola, for instance. I can’t suggest what - I just like the idea.

How about some kind of dried or condensed milk - unexciting but widely used. It shouldn’t really be Spam, given that a lot of people wouldn’t want to eat pork.

Spam?! How the hell could Spam be the world’s most popular brand-name food product? How many people here really eat Spam more than they do other brand-name foods? Yeesh. We’ll have a can of it sitting on the shelf for months before anyone eats it. Coca-Cola would probably be my guess, since its one product thats consumed almost the world over and yet is produced by a single corporation. Most other food products are produced by more localized companies (your milk, meat, grains, and other staples). Many that enjoy almost complete US market saturation (Heinz ketchup, for example) aren’t nearly as popular in foreign markets. I vote Coke, unless I’m forgetting something. And while Pepsi may be pretty popular, I don’t think it can touch Coke for globalization.

Check the OP ooc, sodas, beer and restaurant foods do not qualify for consideration.

Celyn may have hit upon one of the few competitors for Kikkoman soy sauce. Kikkoman’s website does not specify individual product earnings or production.

A check with Nestle might yield data on the distribution of tinned milk. Unfortunately, I do not think that the majority of dried milk is distributed under a specific brand name. I would tend to think that the vast bulk of instant milk distributed for famine relief would be generic and not comercially branded. Any Peace Corps people out there have a cite on this?

I don’t think that one line of tinned milk will compare with the volume of Kikkoman’s soy sauce sales. This is due to how much of the global population is lactose intolerant. There is some degree of offset in view of the world’s massive infant population at any one time. But very little of that demographic consumes either condensed milk or branded dried milk products.

Whether there is a commercial brand that has the bulk of the world relief market has needs to be seen. For those who mention Heinz, the big seller (in volume) would be in ketchup (think of the Mc Donald’s account alone) and not their condensed soups. Since Kikkoman also makes a ketchup as well, I think that they would compete rather well in the Asiatic market and therefore dilute Heinz’s world market figures.

Eggs and Spam, sausage and Spam…

Umm… oh yea…

And the answer is Spam.

Americans do occasionally buy vegemite, but Ausies buy Spam in quantity. Americans are in the minority in ragging on this wonderful food product ;-).

Ok, International community out there… Got Spam?


OK, I began to think if it had to be food, there was a good chance of it being something from Nestle, and here is an indication that the Nescafe brand (NOT the entire Nestle company) could be the highest ranked food brand. From “The World’s Most Valuable Brands 2000” where the Nescafe brand is ranked no. 22.

Coca-Cola and MacDonald rank higher but Coke is already out of the game, and McD is there as a retail brand rather than for one particular product.

So could it be Nescafe coffee? I’d hate to find that it was, tho’ I shouldn’t be too surprised.

Of course, this survey would have been done in terms of global profit, or cash turnover, whereas there could conceivably be another brand of higher volume and lower profit. Or could there? I’ll leave the fun with statistical analysis to someone who can count.

I believe that Purd Werfect is inquiring about a specific off-the-shelf cooking ingredient available through various global distribution channels. Some factors are (I guess);

[li]The product is not a soda[/li]
[li]The product is not a beer[/li]
[li]The product is not from a restaurant[/li]
[li]The product is edible[/li]
[li]The product is commercially branded[/li]
[li]The product is not inhalable (tobacco)[/li]
[li]The product is not a medicine (aspirin)[/li]I would think that this food product should be able to be bought or ordered in the majority of cosmopolitan centers.

Dear OP,

Please correct any mistakes upon my part.



Here’s a couple of ideas:

In my globetrotting I have been amazed by the penetration of Mars chocolate bars. Even the most obscure little dusty third world bazaar will usually have a few Mars bars for sale.

But which identifiable single brand of Pillsbury or Kraft? I dislike Nestle a great deal, but unless all beverages are to be discounted, the biggest selling product looks like Nescafe.

Departs, muttering grr boycott, boycott…

If you scroll down a little on the Kraft link you will see, among other things, “Oreo, the largest international biscuit
in more than 100 countries, was introduced in 1912…is a household name worldwide.”

But I posted again basically to show the four sweetest words to someone in the marketing game