The Beverage Industry is Bubbly for Some Women — but Flat for Most

September 24, 2015

You can drink your way to gender equality--with non-alcoholic beverages of course.  But you won’t be celebrating the gender policies and board participation of leading beverage producers unless some real change occurs.

A new research report from BUY UP Index, the first app of its kind to allow consumers to use their purchasing power on companies most committed to gender equality, highlights the gender equality challenges of women in the beverage industry.

Fourteen beverage producers are listed the BUY UP Index survey, and only three of the fourteen companies disclosed that they offer a paid maternity leave. Eleven companies have at least one female board member, with Dr.Pepper, Unilever, and Campbell Soup leading the pack with more. The number of female executives are staggeringly low, and four companies report that there are no women among their five top paid executives.

"Any company with half a brain in 2014 is thinking about women and minorities,” said Mike Weinstein, former CEO of Snapple and chairman of Inov8 Beverage Company. “I guarantee you every single one of them has metrics in the human resources department." He goes on to suggest that the lack of high-profile women in the beverage industry could stem from beverage bottling traditionally being a male-dominated and “blue-collar” job.

Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCO and one of two female CEOs covered in BUY UP Index’s beverage research, claims that a CEO position is three times more demanding as stay-at-home mothering. Fortunately, The Women’s Leadership Council, launched by Coca Cola Company in 2007 to recruit and develop a pipeline of female leaders, has asserted that variable work hours and flexible work arrangements throughout the company are allowing beverage companies to retain female talent throughout childbearing years.

Nestle might also see its executive numbers increase with its recent increase of maternity leave to 14 weeks--a record in the sector.

So what can you do as a consumer?  First recognize that you have real influence -- your purchasing power. Become a gender-aware consumer and support the companies who are prioritizing female leadership with your dollars.  BUY UP Index empowers you in doing this by using a rating system that makes transparent a company’s demonstrated commitment to gender equality. By using the BUY UP Index app, consumers can force companies to prioritize gender equality and female leadership, and avoid companies who don’t.  That means Nestle and Unilever, which means more of us will be pouring glasses of Perrier, Poland Spring, Nestea and Lipton tea--hot or iced.

About BUY UP Index:

The BUY UP Index is an app that allows you to make purchasing decisions based on a company's demonstrated commitment to gender equality. BUY UP Index rates everyday brands and products and the publicly traded companies behind them. Using The BUY UP Index ratings is an easy way to help make the world a more equal place.

BUY UP Index performs extensive research, poring through publicly available data to look for key data points, doing fact-checking and works with the highest journalistic standards.

BUY UP Index was created in 2014 by Amy-Willard Cross who also produced VITAMIN W Media and the add Feminism Campaign. Cross was inspired to create a product that would help move the needle for women -- and promote change and transparency in American companies.

For further information, please contact:

Amy-Willard Cross