9 Food Stocks Investors Should Eat Up

by Louis Navellier | March 8, 2012 7:00 am

Commodity inflation is weighing on many packaged-food companies these days. Ingredients cost more, so margins are being squeezed. But there are a number of big-name food stocks that continue to gobble up competitors and grow their sales. They’re thriving despite challenging conditions.

I watch more than 5,000 publicly traded companies with my Portfolio Grader[1] tool, ranking companies by a number of fundamental and quantitative measures. This week: nine food-product stocks to buy.

Here they are, in alphabetical order. Each one of these stocks gets an “A” or “B” according to my research, meaning it is a “strong buy” or “buy.”

ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE:CAG[2]) owns the brands Banquet, Chef Boyardee, David Seeds, Egg Beaters, Healthy Choice and Hebrew National, among others. CAG has gained 12% in the last year. ConAgra stock gets a “B” grade for its ability to exceed the consensus earnings estimates on Wall Street, a “B” grade for the magnitude in which earnings projections have increased over the past months and a “B” grade for return on equity in my Portfolio Grader tool. For more information, view my complete analysis of CAG[3].

General Mills Inc. (NYSE:GIS[4]) is a major international manufacturer and marketer of consumer foods. In the last 12 months, GIS is up 4%. GIS stock gets a “B” grade for sales growth and an “A” grade for return on equity in my Portfolio Grader tool. For more information, view my complete analysis of GIS[5].

H.J. Heinz Co. (NYSE:HNZ[6]) is a food company best known for producing ketchup, mustard, sauces and other condiments. HNZ is up 7% in the last year, compared to a 5% gain for the Dow Jones in the same time. HNZ gets a “B” grade for its ability to exceed the consensus earnings estimates on Wall Street, a “B” grade for the magnitude in which earnings projections have increased over the past months and an “A” grade for return on equity in my Portfolio Grader tool. For more information, view my complete analysis of HNZ[7].

Hershey Co. (NYSE:HSY[8]) is one of the most well-known producers of chocolate and other confectionery goods in the U.S. Hershey is up 13% since last March. HSY gets a “B” grade for operating margin growth, a “B” grade for the magnitude in which earnings projections have increased over the past months and an “A” grade for return on equity in my Portfolio Grader tool. For more information, view my complete analysis of HSY[9].

Hormel Foods Corp. (NYSE:HRL[10]) produces a range of meat and food products. Hormel has posted a modest gain of 3% in the last year. HRL gets a “B” grade for operating margin growth, a “B” grade for cash flow and a “B” grade for return on equity in my Portfolio Grader tool. For more information, view my complete analysis of HRL[11].

Kraft Foods Inc. (NYSE:KFT[12]) deals with packaged-food products, including biscuits, confectionery, beverages, cheese and convenient meals. In the last year, Kraft stock gets a “B” grade for operating margin growth, a “B” grade for earnings growth and a “B” grade for return on equity in my Portfolio Grader tool. For more information, view my complete analysis of KFT[13].

J.M. Smucker Co. (NYSE:SJM[14]) counts coffee, peanut butter, shortening and oils, fruit spreads, canned milk and baking mixes as its biggest products. SJM stock has gained 7% since this time last March. Smucker stock gets a “B” grade for sales growth in my Portfolio Grader tool. For more information, view my complete analysis of SJM stock[15].

Sara Lee Corp. (NYSE:SLE[16]) is involved with meats, bakery, beverage and household products, but is best known for desserts. In the last year, SLE has posted an impressive gain of 23%. SLE gets a “B” grade for the magnitude in which earnings projections have increased over the past months and an “A” grade for return on equity in my Portfolio Grader tool. For more information, view my complete analysis of SL[17].

Unilever N.V. (NYSE:UN[18]) makes consumer goods that are sold in more than 180 countries. UN has gained 7% in the last 12 months. Unilever stock gets a quantitative grade of “B” in my Portfolio Grader tool. For more information, view my complete analysis of UN[19].

Get more analysis of these picks and other publicly-traded stocks with Louis Navellier’s Portfolio Grader[20] tool, a 100% free stock-rating tool that measures both quantitative buying pressure and eight fundamental factors.

Endnotes:
  1. Portfolio Grader: http://navelliergrowth.investorplace.com/portfolio-grader/
  2. CAG: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=CAG
  3. For more information, view my complete analysis of CAG: http://navelliergrowth.investorplace.com/portfolio-grader/stock-report.html?q=cag&submit=submit&type=site
  4. GIS: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=GIS
  5. For more information, view my complete analysis of GIS: http://navelliergrowth.investorplace.com/portfolio-grader/stock-report.html?q=gis&submit=submit&type=site
  6. HNZ: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=HNZ
  7. For more information, view my complete analysis of HNZ: http://navelliergrowth.investorplace.com/portfolio-grader/stock-report.html?q=hnz&submit=submit&type=site
  8. HSY: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=HSY
  9. For more information, view my complete analysis of HSY: http://navelliergrowth.investorplace.com/portfolio-grader/stock-report.html?q=hsy&submit=submit&type=site
  10. HRL: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=HRL
  11. For more information, view my complete analysis of HRL: http://navelliergrowth.investorplace.com/portfolio-grader/stock-report.html?q=hrl&submit=submit&type=site
  12. KFT: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=KFT
  13. For more information, view my complete analysis of KFT: http://navelliergrowth.investorplace.com/portfolio-grader/stock-report.html?q=kft&submit=submit&type=site
  14. SJM: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=SJM
  15. For more information, view my complete analysis of SJM stock: http://navelliergrowth.investorplace.com/portfolio-grader/stock-report.html?q=sjm&submit=submit&type=site
  16. SLE: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=SLE
  17. For more information, view my complete analysis of SL: http://navelliergrowth.investorplace.com/portfolio-grader/stock-report.html?q=sle&submit=submit&type=site
  18. UN: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=UN
  19. For more information, view my complete analysis of UN: http://navelliergrowth.investorplace.com/portfolio-grader/stock-report.html?q=un&submit=submit&type=site
  20. Portfolio Grader: http://navelliergrowth.investorplace.com/portfolio-grader/

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