Investing in dividend stocks is one of the best ways to build wealth over long periods of time. Businesses with the best track records of paying dividends for decades on end usually sell products that consumers buy regardless of the prevailing economic climate.
That’s why, despite what you might instinctively feel, the major cereal companies in the United States have long track records of handsomely rewarding their shareholders. Consumers kept buying cereal through the recent financial crisis, as they have throughout every recession, because cereal isn’t often axed from a family’s budget when hard times occur.
As a result, these stocks can be the foundation of an extremely strong, long-term portfolio.
Tasty brands and delicious dividends
General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS) is the giant in the industry, holding a $33 billion market capitalization. The company offers food products that can be found in almost every household in America, including Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Wheaties, not to mention a stable of other food products.
The company has grown astoundingly from very humble beginnings: its first product was Gold Medal flour, introduced all the way back in 1880.
Close peer Kellogg Company (NYSE:K) has a stable of well-known products itself, including Special K and Corn Flakes, among a host of other food offerings. Kellogg has actually worked to branch out from traditional cereal in recent years. The company purchased the Pringles brand for $2.7 billion last year, which is now the company’s second-largest brand.
Kellogg Company (NYSE:K) is a smaller competitor than General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS), with a market value of roughly $25 billion. That being said, Kellogg holds a dividend track record that is equally impressive. Kellogg has paid a dividend every year for the past 88 years and very recently gave investors a 4.5% dividend increase. At recent prices, Kellogg pays a 2.75% yield.
General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS) is quite simply the gold standard for dividend payers. In early March, General Mills raised its dividend 15% to its current level of $1.52 per share annualized. The company has paid uninterrupted dividends for an astounding 114 years in a row, and provides new investors with a solid 3% yield at recent prices.
Even better, General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS) has demonstrated the financial ability to raise its dividend on a regular basis. General Mills has increased its dividend 14 times just since 2004. This has resulted in total returns to shareholders that have trounced returns from the broader market.
According to the company, over the most recent five fiscal years, General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS) dividends per share grew at an 11% compound rate. Total return to General Mills shareholders from stock price appreciation and dividends over the most recent five-year period has compounded at 14% per year.
Strong profits to back the hefty payouts
General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS) and Kellogg Company (NYSE:K) can only maintain such impressive histories of paying and raising dividends because they have the supporting financial prowess.