Prepared Foods November 29, 2004 enewsletter

One in five Europeans plans to avoid purchasing the leading U.S. brands, the Financial Times reported on its website, citing a Global Market Insite (GMI) poll of 8,000 international consumers.

The poll by Seattle-based GMI was taken one week after the U.S. elections. It sampled 1,000 people in each of the Group of Eight countries.

The newspaper said the survey is further evidence of consumer avoidance of brands most closely associated with the United States. It said third-quarter sales for McDonald's Corp, Coca-Cola Co. and Altria Group's Marlboro tobacco brand fell in Germany and France, but the companies tended to blame other factors such as a weak economy.

GMI said it received the strongest negative reaction to companies with the clearest associations to the U.S., such as American Express, AOL, American Airlines, Marlboro, McDonald's, Budweiser, Barbie Doll and ChevronTexaco.

On the other hand, U.S. brands which consumers associate less strongly with the U.S., such as Kleenex, Kodak, Visa, Heinz and Estee Lauder, tended to generate less negative reactions, the report said.

Mitchell Eggers, GMI's chief pollster, was quoted as saying, "The data illustrates that a less favorable view of America affects the image of products closely associated with American brands. When allies view American foreign policy as arrogant and self-interested, we damage our reputation for being powerful, innovative and, most importantly, fair."