References to the term ‘industrial automation’ in beverage companies’ filings during the final three months of 2021 inched up slightly on the corresponding period a year earlier.

Industrial automation appeared in 0.03% of the sentences in drinks companies’ filings in the quarter, according to GlobalData, a slight rise on 0.02% in Q4 2021. In the 12 months of last year, the appearance of the term was 4% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.

Of the 20 biggest employers in beverages, PepsiCo referred to industrial automation the most last year. GlobalData identified 13 industrial automation-related sentences in the group's filings, representing 0.2% of all sentences. Heineken mentioned industrial automation the second most, in 0.13% of sentences in its filings. Other top employers with high industrial automation mentions included Diageo, Tingyi Cayman Islands and Tsingtao Brewery.

In the final quarter, drinks companies based in Asia were most likely to mention the term, with 0.07% of sentences referring to the issue. In contrast, companies with their headquarters in the US mentioned industrial automation in just 0.05% of sentences.

When beverage companies publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies references to disruptive forces facing industry in the coming years. Industrial automation counts as one of these topics - companies that are investing in these areas are expected to be better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.

To assess whether industrial automation is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of drinks brand owners, GlobalData looked at the percentage of companies that have mentioned the term at least once in filings during the past 12 months - this was 64%, compared to 45% in 2016. Secondly, the company calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to industrial automation.

This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on industrial automation and how important the issue is considered within beverages, However, a company mentioning the term 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 in industrial automation have been successes or failures.

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