References to the term ‘digitalisation’ in beverage companies’ filings hit a new high last year, according to recently-released data.

In 2021, the appearance of the term was 445% higher than in 2016, when GlobalData first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.

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Of the 20 biggest employers in beverages, Pernod Ricard referred to digitalisation the most over the 12-month period. GlobalData identified 84 digitalisation-related sentences in the group's filings, representing 4.1% of all sentences. Nestle mentioned digitalisation the second most, in 2.4% of sentences in its filings. Other top drinks companies with high digitalisation mentions in 2021 included Anheuser-Busch InBev, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola Europacific Partners.

Across all drinks companies, the filing published in the fourth quarter of 2021 that indicated the greatest focus on digitalisation was from Pernod. Of the document's 1,097 sentences, 55 - 5% - made reference to the term.

In the last quarter, beverage companies based in Western Europe were the most likely to mention digitalisation, with 0.9% of sentences in filings referring to the issue. In contrast, companies with their headquarters in Asia referenced digitalisation in just 0.38% 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. Digitalisation 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 digitalisation is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of drinks companies, GlobalData looked at the percentage of companies that have mentioned the term at least once in filings during the past 12 months - this was 96%, compared to 61% in 2016. Secondly, the company calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to digitalisation.

This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on digitalisation 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 digitalisation have been successes or failures.

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