Snacks & Candy

Food Manufacturers Show Customer-Satisfaction Resilience

Opinions of soft-drink and beer makers slide in latest ACSI study
Customer Satisfaction
Image: Shutterstock

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The Hershey Co., Mars and several other consumer-product manufacturers familiar in convenience stores led improvements in the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Nondurable Products Study. Overall, the 2020-2021 edition of the report from ACSI shows a customer satisfaction score increase for the food manufacturing industry and decreases for the soft drink and brewery industries.

“Consumers remain relatively satisfied with nondurables, but the sector isn’t as hot as it once was,” said David VanAmburg, managing director, ACSI. “Last year, almost 90% of major manufacturers experienced year-over-year customer satisfaction drops, including all 11 major food processors. This time, firms like Hershey, Clorox and Adidas saw improvements, but Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Levi Strauss and Conagra are struggling. As disruptions to the global supply chain continue to wreak havoc, businesses will have to adjust or risk even more growing customer dissatisfaction.”

Some significant results:

Food Manufacturing

The food manufacturing industry’s customer satisfaction increased 1.3% with an ACSI score of 80, compared to 79 in 2020 and 82 in 2019. Hershey, Mars and Quaker tied, along with the category for smaller food makers, each with a score of 82. Hershey and Mars customer satisfaction increased 1% while Quaker’s remained unchanged from last year.

General Mills and Kraft Heinz increased 4%, to 81 and 80 respectively, after harsh declines in last year’s ACSI survey.

Company20202021Percent Change
Food Manufacturing79801.3%
All Others79824%
Quaker (PepsiCo)82820%
General Mills78814%
Kraft Heinz77804%
Campbell Soup77793%

Soft Drinks

The soft-drink industry hit a new low in the ACSI survey, scoring 78 and dropping 2.5% overall. With an increase of 1%, a combined group of smaller soft-drink manufacturers—the only industry improvement since last year—led the category with an ACSI score of 81. Keurig Dr Pepper saw a 2% decrease, resulting in an ACSI score of 79. PepsiCo, with a score of 78, and Coca-Cola, 77, decreased by 4% and 3%, respectively.

Company20202021Percent Change
Soft Drinks8078-2.5%
All Others80811%
Keurig Dr Pepper8179-2%


For the third year in a row, the comprehensive ACSI score for the beer category has declined, this year by 2.5% with a total score of 79. Much like the soft-drink industry, the top ACSI score in the beer category is the group of small breweries with a rating of 82, even though it dropped 2% from last year. Behind the smaller breweries are Anheuser-Busch InBev, dropping 3% with a score of 78, and Molson Coors, dropping 1% with a score of 77.

Company20202021Percent Change
All Others8482-2%
Anheuser-Busch InBev8078-3%
Molson Coors7877-1%

The ACSI, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., gathered survey results from 5,080 randomly chosen customers between Oct. 6, 2020, and Sept. 25, 2021. Each customer was interviewed about recent experiences with grocery items in six industries: food, soft drinks, beer, personal care and cleaning items, apparel and athletic shoes. Key metrics include customer expectations, customer perceptions about the value and quality of their actual experiences, customer complaints and customer retention.

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