Yes, the American food industry might feel like a bit of a wild card right now, with corn prices on the rise with no ceiling in sight. The really good companies in the business, however, can manage that volatility … and even use it to their advantage. ConAgra Foods (NYSE:CAG) is one of those really good — and amazingly consistent — names.
The stock yields a solid 4%, but what’s really impressive here is the consistency with which ConAgra can crank up that payout. From 2007’s quarterly payout of 18 cents to the most recent quarterly dividend of 24 cents, the company clearly likes to share the wealth. Add in the recent purchase of Unilever’s (NYSE:UL) North American frozen foods division — which includes Bertolli and P.F. Chang’s (NASDAQ:PFCB) branding rights — against the backdrop of a forecasted 6% increase in earnings for 2013, and the company is positioned to pass a little more cash along to shareholders.