The world’s largest consumer goods companies surged to their highest growth in a decade last year, driven by soaring prices and solid sales volumes.

The OC&C Global 50 report found revenue growth hit a record high of 10.9% across the world’s largest fmcg suppliers, as huge input costs were passed on to consumers.

That built on the 9.3% growth experienced in the post-Covid rebound of 2021, meaning major fmcg multinationals have seen growth of over 21% over those two years.

Growth was primarily driven by pricing – average pricing growth hit 10.7% over the period – aided by product mix due to premiumisation.

Despite the sharp rise in pricing, organic volumes remained solid. They were up 0.8% over the period, largely in line with the years prior to the strong 3.4% volume rebound post-Covid.

However, that volume growth was boosted by a strong rebound for beer and spirits players as the leisure and travel sectors reopened, with those companies seeing a 3.1% organic rise compared with 0.1% for food and drinks and a 0.4% decline for personal and household care players.

Additionally, companies were unable to fully pass on the full scale of cost increases they endured during the year.

Overall margins in the Global 50 were squeezed by 1.4 percentage points to their lowest level in more than five years, as companies struggled to mitigate the reduction in gross margins through cost savings.

However, the high boost to value sales meant companies did make higher profits in absolute terms: collective EBIT was up by around $10bn in the period.

OC&C partner Claire Dannatt commented: “The Global 50 have come out of inflation relatively unscathed, but will need to rapidly refocus on longer-term strategy to maintain and build their competitive advantage. This will also need to be supported with investment – something that has been in shorter supply in recent years”

Nestlé once again topped the index in terms of revenues, with sales of $98.9bn followed by PepsiCo ($86.4bn) and Procter & Gamble ($79.4bn).

New entrants included two new consumer health pureplay companies, Haleon and Kenvue, having been spun out of GSK and Johnson & Johnson respectively, while US confectionery player Hershey’s, Chinese drinks player Wuliangye and Canadian dairy player Saputo also entered the list.

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