Unilever and Suntory are among the beverage brand owners best positioned to take advantage of future artificial intelligence disruption in the industry, according to recent research.

The assessment comes from GlobalData’s Thematic Research ecosystem, which ranks companies on a scale of one to five, based on their likelihood to tackle challenges like AI. According to the analysis, Unilever is well-placed to benefit from its investments in artificial intelligence. The group, which operates the Lipton iced tea brand in partnership with PepsiCo, was the only company to attain the top score in GlobalData’s non-alcoholic beverages ‘Thematic Scorecard’.

In the 12 months to the end of September, Unilever advertised for 323 new artificial intelligence-related roles and mentioned artificial intelligence five times in its filings.

The table below shows how GlobalData scored the biggest companies in beverages on their artificial intelligence performance, as well as the number of new AI jobs, deals, patents and mentions in company reports since October 2020.



Higher numbers usually indicate that a company has spent more time and resources on improving its artificial intelligence performance, or that artificial intelligence is at least high up executives’ list of priorities.

A high number of mentions of artificial intelligence in quarterly company filings suggests the company is either reaping the rewards from previous investments or needs to invest more to catch up with the rest of the industry. Similarly, a high number of deals could indicate a company is dominating the market, or that it is using M&A acquisitions to plug gaps in its capabilities.

This article is based on GlobalData research figures as of 10 November.

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