In today's world, most companies span several regions and sell around the world. As Foolish colleague Morgan Housel notes, 10 years ago, less than a third of S&P 500 revenue growth came from abroad. Today, that area makes up half of the S&P 500's growth.

And that number is growing. The truth is, investors regularly underestimate how much demand comes from abroad. More importantly, for large, multinational corporations that have already established a presence in their home markets, much of their future growth comes from abroad.

With that in mind, today we're looking at Kraft (NYSE: KFT). We'll examine not only where its sales and earnings come from, but also how its sales abroad have changed over time.

Where Kraft's sales were five years ago
Five years ago, Kraft produced 60% of its sales within the United States.

Source: S&P Capital IQ.

Where Kraft's sales are today
Today, America is still Kraft's largest market, but its influence is shrinking. While the United States still contributes 40% of sales, domestic sales growth lags far behind other regions.

This huge international growth isn't all from superb overseas execution. A huge part of Kraft's growth was its $22 billion acquisition of Cadbury that closed in February 2010. Overnight, the whole make-up of Kraft's business was changed.

Before Cadbury Acquisition (2009)

After Cadbury Acquisition (2010)

U.S. Percent of Sales: 54% US Percent of Sales: 42%
Europe Percent of Sales: 33% Europe Percent of Sales: 33%
Other: 13% Other: 24%

The acquisition immediately gave Kraft a much stronger presence in faster-growing "other markets," including Asia and Latin America. Still, even without the acquisition, Kraft is booming enough outside the United States that it's hoping to spin off its growth-heavy emerging-markets business from its U.S. grocery unit. Success stories in Kraft's international unit are numerous; one specific example that caught investors' attention was that its Brazilian chocolate brand Lacta overtook Nestle in that market. Continuing expansion has led emerging markets to become 30% of Kraft's business, while sales to "other" geographic regions grew 21% last year, more than doubling overall company sales growth.

Competitor checkup
One last point to check is how Kraft's footprint compares with some of its peers:

Company

Geography With Most Sales

Percent of Sales

Kraft United States 40%
Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) North America 44%
PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP) United States 50%
Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) United States 37%

Source: S&P Capital IQ.

Both Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble provide extremely strong worldwide growth opportunities. Note that Coca-Cola's "North America" segment received a huge growth spurt in the past year, when the company rebought its bottling operations there. Pepsi still has a long way to go before it catches up with the international marketing and sales power of its consumer-goods rivals. Still, Pepsi has managed to decrease its reliance on the U.S. market from 61% of sales in 2005 to 50% last year.

The interesting development in the space will be Kraft's eventual spinoff of its fast-growing overseas operations. We'll have to see what final form this spinoff takes -- just this week we found out it'll be called Mondelez -- but at the right price, it could give investors a great way to play the increasing wealth of consumers in markets such as China and Brazil.

Keep searching
There's a reason companies are seeing outsized growth around the world; in the past decade, emerging-market consumer spending grew 250%, leaving the growth rates of the U.S. and Europe in the dust. If you're an investor scanning the world for opportunities, look no further than our new report, "3 Companies Set to Dominate the World." In the report, Fool analysts select three companies that have an international growth opportunity that's simply stunning. The report is free but won't be available forever, so get your copy by clicking here today!

Eric Bleeker owns shares of no companies listed above. You can follow him on Twitter to see all of his technology and market commentary. The Motley Fool owns shares of Coca-Cola and PepsiCo. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and Procter & Gamble and creating a diagonal call position in PepsiCo. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.