YTD Return: 3%
For proof that The Coca-Cola Co. (KO) is no longer the blue-chip brand it once was, look no further than Interbrand’s annual ranking of the Best Global Brands. The company’s flagship beverage held the top spot for an impressive 13-year run, but that run came to a crashing halt this year.
Both Coca-Cola and Sprite posted meager gains in their brand value, which considers factors including competition, market and financial data. As a result, incumbent Coke slid to third place, and Apple (AAPL) stormed to the top spot.
It’s easy to see why. While Coca-Cola’s red logo and script remains iconic, the tough reality is that soft drinks in general have come under fire — as seen with the attempted ban on large soft drinks in New York — thanks to high sugar content, aspartame controversy and more. In fact, soda consumption recently fell to the lowest levels since 1996.
And Coca-Cola is a much more direct casualty of this trend than diversified food and beverage rival Pepsi (PEP), as seen by KO’s lower slated earnings growth over the next five years.
Alyssa Oursler is an Assistant Editor of InvestorPlace. As of this writing, she was long MCD.