Top Food Stocks for Q4 2022 – Investopedia

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The food industry is composed of companies that focus primarily on offering food and nonalcoholic beverage products. It includes grocery stores, food distribution companies, and other companies offering consumer staples that consumers either eat or drink. It does not include restaurant businesses, many of which are considered cyclical because consumers tend to dine out less during economic slumps. Companies in the food industry include The Kroger Co., Darling Ingredients Inc., and B&G Foods Inc.

The food sector, as represented by the S&P 1500 Food Products Industry Index, has significantly outperformed the broader market, with a one-year trailing total return of 11.6% compared with -12.5% for the Russell 1000 Index, as of Sept. 19, 2022.

Here are the top three food stocks with the best value, the fastest growth, and the most momentum. All numbers in the tables below are as of Sept. 19, 2022.

These are the food stocks with the lowest 12-month trailing price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio. Because profits can be returned to shareholders in the form of dividends and buybacks, a low P/E ratio shows that you’re paying less for each dollar of profit generated.

Best Value Food Stocks
  Price ($) Market Capitalization (Market Cap) ($B) 12-Month Trailing P/E Ratio
Ingles Markets Inc. (IMKTA) 84.18 1.6 5.8
Herbalife Nutrition Ltd. (HLF) 22.57 2.2 6.8
Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. (PPC) 25.60 6.1 8.4

Source: YCharts

  • Ingles Markets Inc.: Ingles Markets operates a chain of supermarkets. The company sells grocery, produce, meat, dairy, and other food and non-food products. It has locations across the southeastern U.S.
  • Herbalife Nutrition Ltd.: Herbalife Nutrition is a global nutrition company. It offers weight management products and healthy meals and snacks, as well as sports and fitness, energy, and other targeted nutritional products. It also sells personal care products. On Aug. 2, Herbalife announced a $400 million investment in a digital initiative called Herbalife One. The initiative will create a integrated platform for Herbalife distributors and customers worldwide, offering new distributor sign-ups, onboarding and training, wellness content accessibility, and new shopping tools.
  • Pilgrim’s Pride Corp.: Pilgrim’s Pride produces and sells a broad range of fresh, read-to–cook, and frozen chicken, pork and other products through retailers and foodservice companies. It operates plants and prepared-food facilities throughout the United States, Mexico, and other locations Pilgrim’s Pride reported Q2 2022 results on July 27. Net income was $362.0 million compared with a net loss for the prior-year quarter, and net sales climbed by 27.3% year over year (YOY)Operating income was $512.9 million. Strong demand in retail and foodservice and investments in automation helped fuel the improved performance.

These are the top food stocks as ranked by a growth model that scores companies based on a 50/50 weighting of their most recent quarterly YOY percentage revenue growth and their most recent quarterly YOY earnings per share (EPS) growth. Both sales and earnings are critical factors in the success of a company. Therefore, ranking companies by only one growth metric makes a ranking susceptible to the accounting anomalies of that quarter (such as changes in tax law or restructuring costs) that may make one figure or the other unrepresentative of the business in general. Companies with quarterly EPS or revenue growth of more than 2,500% were excluded as outliers.

Fastest Growing Food Stocks
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) EPS Growth (%) Revenue Growth (%)
Celsius Holdings Inc. (CELH) 106.05 8.0 1,100 136.7
The Chefs’ Warehouse Inc. (CHEF) 34.72 1.3 1,300 53.2
Performance Food Group Co. (PFGC) 49.50 7.7 113.0 56.8

Source: YCharts

  • Celsius Holdings Inc.: Celsius is a holding company that develops, sells, and distributes a variety of calorie-burning beverages. It sells through multiple channels, including grocery, drug, convenience, and nutrition stores, as well as gyms. Celsius announced Q2 2022 earnings results on Aug. 9. Net income grew about 11-fold YOY as revenue more than doubled. Domestic revenue nearly tripled over this period, fueled by gains in traditional channels, optimization and SKU expansion in existing accounts, and the expansion of the company’ Direct Store Delivery network, among other factors.
  • The Chefs’ Warehouse Inc.: The Chefs’ Warehouse is a distributor of specialty foodsm, ingredients, and produce. It serves customers who own and operate restaurants, hotels, culinary schools, and similar food-centered businesses.
  • Performance Food Group Co.: Performance Food Group is a food and foodservice distribution company with operations across the U.S. and Canada. It delivers food and related products to restaurants, businesses, schools, healthcare facilities, and other distributors. On Aug. 17, the company reported results for its Q4 FY 2022, ended July 2. Net income surged by more than 142% YOY as net sales increased by 57%. Improvements in customer mix and better margins led to strong growth across all business segments.

These are the food stocks that had the highest total return over the last 12 months.

Food Stocks with the Most Momentum
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) 12-Month Trailing Total Return (%)
SpartanNash Co. (SPTN) 30.39 1.1 51.4
Hostess Brands Inc. (TWNK) 24.54 3.4 51.2
Grocery Outlet Holding Corp. (GO) 34.84 3.4 46.2
Russell 1000 Index N/A N/A -12.5
S&P 1500 Food Products Industry Index N/A N/A 11.6

Source: YCharts

  • SpartanNash Co.: SpartanNash is a retailer, distributor, and wholesaler of grocery products. It provides a range of different independent and chain retailers, its own retail stores, and U.S. military commissaries and exchanges. The company also operates supermarkets as well as a fresh produce distribution network. On Aug. 29 SpartanNash announced a quarterly cash dividend of $0.21 per common share. The dividend is payable Sept. 30 to shareholders as of Sept. 15, 2022.
  • Hostess Brands Inc.: Hostess Brands is a maker and distributor of packaged foods. It develops, manufactures, and markets a variety of baked and sweet goods across the U.S. On Sept. 13, the company announced the launch of Bouncers, bite-sized snack cakes with creamy fillings. The product offers consumers “on-the-go” versions of popular Hostess products including Twinkies and Ding Dongs.
  • Grocery Outlet Holding Corp.: Grocery Outlet Holding is a holding company that, through subsidiaries, offers a variety of food products through retail outlets across the west coast and the northeastern U.S. Its offerings include produce, refrigerated and frozen foods, meat, seafood, and more.

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