From 2011 to 2015 large CPG companies lost nearly three percentage points of market share in America, according to a joint study by the Boston Consulting Group and IRI, a consultancy and data provider, respectively. In emerging markets local competitors are a growing headache for multinational giants. Nestlé, the world’s biggest food company, has missed its target of 5-6% sales growth for three years running.
For a time, size gave CPG companies a staggering advantage. Centralising decisions and consolidating manufacturing helped firms expand margins. Deep pockets meant companies could spend millions on a flashy television advertisement, then see sales rise. Firms distributed goods to a vast network of stores, paying for prominent placement on shelves.
Yet these advantages are not what they once were.