Over 1.8 million American's have celiac disease. Celiac is a disease in which chronic failure to digest food is triggered by hypersensitivity of the small intestine to gluten. As crazy as it sounds, a Mayo Clinic study recently showed that only 400,000 celiacs know they have the disease. With this said, it should also be noted that over 1.6 million people choose to eat a gluten-free diet.
Whole Foods is a store whose mission statement reads, "we seek out the finest natural and organic foods available, maintain the strictest quality standards in the industry, and have an unshakable commitment to sustainable agriculture." Although all of their foods are not gluten-free, they do present many celiacs with more options. Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM) shows an amazing track record of growing revenues. Every year since 2003, their revenues have increased, leaving the company with a 372% growth. Whole Foods shows a 4.3% FCF yield. Every year since 2006 their FCF has increased. With nearly a 7% increase in its stock and 157% in the past five years, look for it to continue to grow at a steady rate.
Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage Inc (NYSE:NGVC) is another 'super market' that celiacs often visit. Natural Grocers was founded in 1955 as a door-to-door business in Golden, Colorado. There are no stores east of Missouri, yet there are 62 grocery stores in 13 states. Capital Expenditures increased by 25% in 2012. The company's revenues have skyrocketed in the past three years, increasing 49%. Natural Grocers' market cap is just over $428 million. The company has not been publicly traded for long, as its IPO was July 25, 2012.
Kroger is not a natural or organic chain of grocery stores, but it does still produce many gluten free items. The company was founded in 1883 in downtown Cincinnati, but has since grown to 3,574 stores, making it the country's largest grocery store chain. Revenues in this industry seem to be steadily rising, as The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR)'s have increased every year for ten years as well. In the past year alone, the stock increased over 21%. With a market cap of $14 billion, the company's FCF yield is 3.9%. Its dividend yield is 2.2%. Kroger is attempting to help meet the needs of these nearly two million people with celiac.