Pernod Ricard was the drinks giant that referred to digitalisation the most between July 2021 and June 2022, according to analysis of its public filings.

Of the 20 biggest employers in the beverages industry, the France-based wine and spirits major cited the topic the most often in its public statements, GlobalData says. 

The research group identified 74 digitalisation-related sentences in Pernod Ricard’s filings – 3.5% of all sentences. Nestle mentioned digitalisation the second-most – the issue was referred to in 1.8% of sentences in the company’s filings. Other top employers with high digitalisation mentions included Asahi, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Tingyi Cayman Islands.

When drinks manufacturers publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. Digitalisation is one of these topics – companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.

To assess whether digitalisation is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of drinks manufacturers, two measures were calculated. Firstly, GlobalData looks at the percentage of companies that have mentioned digitalisation at least once in filings during the past twelve months – this was 93% compared to 61% in 2016. Secondly, GlobalData calculates the percentage of analysed sentences that referred to digitalisation.

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Across all drinks manufacturing companies the filing published in the second quarter of 2022 which exhibited the greatest focus on digitalisation came from Brown-Forman. Of the document's 1,015 sentences, 12 (1.2%) referred to digitalization.

In the last quarter, drinks manufacturing companies based in western Europe were most likely to mention digitalisation with 0.88% of sentences in company filings referring to the issue. In contrast, companies with their headquarters in the US mentioned digitalisation in just 0.47% of sentences.

This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on digitalisation and how important the issue is considered within the beverages industry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning digitalisation more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into digitalisation have been successes or failures.