L’Oréal and Nestlé are leading the way for artificial intelligence investment among top consumer products companies according to our analysis of a range of GlobalData data.

Artificial intelligence has become one of the key themes in the consumer sector of late, with companies hiring for increasingly more roles, making more deals, registering more patents and mentioning it more often in company filings.

These themes, of which artificial intelligence is one, are best thought of as “any issue that keeps a CEO awake at night”, and by tracking and combining them, it becomes possible to ascertain which companies are leading the way on specific issues and which are dragging their heels.

According to GlobalData analysis, L’Oréal is one of the artificial intelligence leaders in a list of high-revenue companies in the consumer industry, having advertised for 173 positions in artificial intelligence, made zero deals related to the field, filed 13 patents and mentioned artificial intelligence four times in company filings between January 2020 and June 2021.

Our analysis classified three companies as Most Valuable Players – or MVPs – due to their high number of new jobs, deals, patents and company filings mentions in the field of artificial intelligence. An additional six companies are classified as Market Leaders and zero are Average Players. One more company – Mars – is classified as a Late Mover due to their relatively lower levels of jobs, deals, patents and company filings in artificial intelligence.

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For the purpose of this analysis, we’ve ranked top companies in the consumer sector on each of the four metrics relating to artificial intelligence: jobs, deals, patents and company filings. The best-performing companies – the ones ranked at the top across all or most metrics – were categorised as MVPs while the worst performers – companies ranked at the bottom of most indicators – were classified as Late Movers.

Nestlé is spearheading the artificial intelligence hiring race in the consumer products sector, advertising for 251 new jobs between January 2020 and June 2021. The company reached peak hiring in May 2021, when it listed 30 new job ads related to artificial intelligence.

PepsiCo followed Nestlé as the second most proactive artificial intelligence employer in consumer products, advertising for 221 new positions. L'Oréal was third with 173 new job listings.

One of the most innovative consumer companies in recent months was Procter & Gamble, having filed 25 patent applications related to artificial intelligence since the beginning of last year. It was followed by L'Oréal with 13 patents and Nestlé with one.

GlobalData collects patent filings from 100-plus counties and jurisdictions. These patents are then tagged according to the themes they relate to, including artificial intelligence, based on specific keywords and expert input. The patents are also assigned to a company to identify the most innovative players in a particular field.

Finally, artificial intelligence was a commonly mentioned theme in consumer company filings. L'Oréal mentioned artificial intelligence four times in its corporate reports between January 2020 and June 2021. Heineken filings mentioned it four times and Anheuser-Busch InBev three.