Food companies fare well in reputation survey

Coca-Cola Co. moved up a notch to No. 2 and General Mills Inc., at No. 8, was the only other food company to crack the top 10 in the annual Reputation Quotient study by research firm Harris Interactive, Rochester, N.Y., and the Reputation Institute, New York.

Johnson & Johnson maintained the lock it’s had on first place ever since the survey began in 1999. And while it takes most companies many years to build up enough goodwill to place on the survey, Google, just seven years old, debuted at the No. 3 spot.

Respondents evaluated companies they were familiar with on 20 criteria that measure emotional appeal, financial performance, quality of products and services, social responsibility, vision and leadership and workplace environment.

The survey was done in two parts. Nearly 7,000 people were surveyed between March and June of last year to create a list of 60 companies most often named. Then between Aug. 30 and Sept. 26, 19,564 people were asked to rank those 60 companies on the 20 criteria.

Pepsico was one of the biggest gainers, rising seven spots to land at No. 17 in the 2005 poll. Starbucks dropped six places to No. 23. Procter & Gamble fell from No. 4 in 2004 to No. 13.

Other food companies on the list were Unilever 28 (was 23 the previous year), McDonald’s 35 (33) and Altria Group (including Kraft) 50 (48).

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