Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated with the latest information.
The mention of food stocks likely conjures up grocery stores and related retailers, wholesalers and suppliers. Indeed, those types of companies are present on this list, but it also includes a number of firms that make those foods possible.
That said, what we’re looking for is stocks that appear poised to perform well in the near term as inflation rocks consumers, and over the longer term as well.
Near-term performance is a tricky thing to gauge. The consumer price index (CPI) increased 8.5% in July but the rise in the cost of food was even higher, at 10.9%. The cost of food in the at-home category grew even more rapidly, at 13.1%.
That means companies in the sector are left balancing rising input costs, passing those prices on to consumers, and hoping that the calculus falls in their favor. The following shares look to be among the best able to balance those issues moving forward.
Best Food Stocks: Coca-Cola (KO)
Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) is bound to pop up on all sorts of stocks to buy lists for the remainder of 2022 and into 2023. It’s an especially strong performer when things get tough.
A few factors, including its five-year monthly beta of 0.54, attest to that notion. Beta measures the systemic risk of a given stock or portfolio relative to the broader market, with a number under one being considered less risky.
As the market continues to writhe throughout 2022, expect Coca-Cola shares to express roughly 54% as much volatility.
Coca-Cola gets a lot of attention for its dividend, which hasn’t been reduced since 1963. It’s just one more indication that investors can count on KO stock in times of turbulence.
Campbell Soup (CPB)
Campbell Soup (NYSE:CPB) stock is synonymous with value, and the theory goes that in beaten-down economies consumers buy more soup.
That actually wasn’t the case during the 2008 recession, at least at one point, when sales plunged 7% during one quarter.
So far, it’s been different in 2022 whether you want to term this period as a recession or not: sales increased 6% for the fourth quarter.
That implies that not only could consumers actually buy more soup this time around but also that Campell Soup could really soar if it shores up supply chain issues. In that case, it could theoretically charge less as input costs would decrease.
Right now it’s a bit of a guess as Campbell Soup management has stated that price increases could come again in the next few months.
Best Food Stocks: BASF (BASFY)
BASF (OTCMKTS:BASFY) is a stock that is tangential to the food sector. The company is a massive German firm that perennially fights for the title of the world’s largest chemical company. In 2021, it ranked second to Dow (NYSE:DOW), raking in $6.08 billion in profits.
BASF has shown impressive growth and plays a vital role in things like wheat production, which is being wracked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The longer-term catalyst is that world population is growing, which will require more crop production, thus necessitating more of its chemicals and agricultural solutions.
On top of that, BASFY stock has roughly 40% upside built into its average target price.
If BASF is worth considering right now, then so too is Archer-Daniels-Midland (NYSE:ADM) stock. Both firms are intimately connected to food at the agricultural production level.
ADM has garnered lots of attention of late as Ukrainian grain production falters due to the war. The company plays an important role in the global production of corn, wheat and cooking oil.
Those inputs are used to make the end products that find their way to our tables. The grain production helps feed livestock.
ADM stock trades around $90 and carries a target price of $98. So, there is upside there. At the same time, ADM stock boasts a beta below 1, meaning it will exhibit more stability overall.
Best Food Stocks: Costco (COST)
Costco (NASDAQ:COST) stock has been on a rollercoaster throughout 2022.
It really began to charge upward in late 2021 when the earliest hints of inflation started to ripple across markets.
The effect was pretty straightforward: consumers were expected to head to the wholesaler in droves and they did.
That kept COST stock in the $500 range from November 2021 through April of this year. In May, however, the company’s margins declined despite a revenue beat in the quarter.
The reason likely had to do with Costco’s low gas prices, which drove customers to its stores. Those gas sales, which pushed up revenues as more traffic entered the store, also dragged margins lower due to rock-bottom prices.
Investors should gamble on the notion that the company can maximize its product mix in a way that leads to greater margins while sales continue to rise.
Mondelez International (MDLZ)
Mondelez International (NYSE:MDLZ) is a snack food company that makes cookies, crackers, biscuits and chocolate.
The company recently purchased Clif Bar for $2.9 billion, which should make its overall snacking portfolio healthier. Importantly, it pushes Mondelez’s global snack bar business beyond $1 billion while giving the firm a fast-growing business. That alone makes MDLZ stock one to buy now.
MDLZ stock is also strongly backed by Wall Street and has roughly 20% upside built into current prices.
On the date of publication, Alex Sirois did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.