Hormel Foods Corporation (HRL): Should You Lose Your Appetite For This Food Stock?

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Companies that make and sell products we all use on a regular basis have been some of the best performing stocks to hold over long periods of time. Their stable businesses mean consumers buy their products regardless of the economic climate.

In addition, that financial stability is often accompanied by steady dividend payments, year in and year out. Over many decades, those dividends add up to huge returns for shareholders. One such company that exhibits all these qualities is Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE:HRL), which, until recently, was on a nearly uninterrupted rally.

Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE:HRL)

On June 18, Hormel cut its fiscal 2013 profit outlook, sending shares down more than 3% on a day in which the Dow rose nearly 140 points. Should investors put this food stock back on the shelf? Or is there still reason to add Hormel to your shopping cart?

Hormel: A long and proud history

Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE:HRL) is a company that likely flies under the radar of many investors. That’s because in the packaged food space, it’s a smaller competitor to industry giants like Kraft Foods Group Inc (NASDAQ:KRFT) and ConAgra Foods, Inc. (NYSE:CAG).

That being said, Hormel is a company with a long history of satisfying its hungry customers and shareholders alike.

Hormel was founded in 1891, and has since sold its flagship Spam and Hormel Chili to consumers. However, the company has broadened its product portfolio over the years. The company holds the Jennie-O brand, and earlier this month announced the acquisition of the Skippy peanut butter line.

Moreover, Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE:HRL) has an enviable dividend track record: the company has provided investors an astounding 47 consecutive years of dividend increases.

The grocery aisles are packed with competitors

ConAgra has a market value of $14 billion and many household brands, including Healthy Choice, Hebrew National, and Del Monte. ConAgra’s consumer brands can be found in 97% of America’s households, and 28 of them are ranked first or second in their category.

ConAgra has executed strongly for many years, and its shareholders have benefited handsomely. The company was founded all the way back in 1919 and has demonstrated a clear intention of rewarding shareholders. Last year, the company raised its dividend by 4% and yields nearly 3% at recent prices. Moreover, ConAgra realized 8% sales growth in 2012.

Kraft, meanwhile, almost needs no introduction. The $33 billion packaged food giant holds a stable of brands that can be found in virtually every household in America. Some of these include Miracle Whip, Jell-O, Oscar Mayer, Planters, and Velveeta.

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