SYDNEY: Cadbury and Coca-Cola are the most popular grocery brands in Australia, a new study from The Nielsen Company has revealed.

The research firm surveyed a panel of 1,500 people in the country, in order to establish which goods they "love", "trust" and would be willing to recommend.

It then combined this information with data sourced from its Homescan panel, which is made up of 10,000 households, to ascertain product penetration rates and average expenditure levels.

According to Nielsen's findings, Cadbury, which took pole position, boosted its adspend by 20%, to A$23.6 million ($20.7m; €14.9m; £13.0bn), over the course of the last 12 months.

Coca-Cola, the soft drinks giant, came in second, having increased its outlay in this area by 19%, to A$13.7m.

Bega, the cheese company, was in third, and ran its first formal communications campaigns in 2009, with an estimated budget of A$3.7m.

Smith's Snackfoods, in fourth, reined in its marketing investment by 16%, to A$2.9bn, with Kleenex, in fifth, cutting back by an even more substantial 70%, to A$1.1bn.

Overall, 17 of the top 25 brands featured in Nielsen's poll directed more resources to advertising last year than in 2008, with Colgate and Schweppes both up by 18%, to A$11.3bn and A$7.2bn respectively.

Vegemite, the yeast spread owned by Kraft, similarly recorded a year-on-year improvement of 34%, to A$3.4bn.

By contrast, Birds Eye, the frozen goods firm, was off by 30%, to A$2.2bn, but still came inside the top ten, as did Sorbent, the tissue specialist, which was down by 80%, to A$440m.

Chris Percy, managing director, Nielsen Consumer Pacific, said "Cadbury and Coca-Cola have secured the top positions in the report as they scored very highly in all of the key consumer dimensions."

"While average annual spend and the degree of affinity to a brand varied significantly ... clearly it is the brands that we identify with, find most relevant to our lifestyles, and kept top of mind, which perform better than most."

According to the company, 80% of the top 25 grocery offerings were from the food sector, with the same number being classed as "heritage" brands.

Data sourced from Nielsen; additional content by Warc staff