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United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI), Whole Foods Market, Inc. (WFM) – Environmental Investing: Part 1

Two That Make Sense

Two other names that stood out from the portfolio as completely logical were United Natural Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ:UNFI) and Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM). These two companies are the big players in the natural food grocery industry. United Natural Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ:UNFI) is the largest distributor of such foods and Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM) is the largest retailer.

The Grocer

As traditional grocery stores have struggled from intense competition from nationwide discount chains like Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT), Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM) has managed to continue expanding despite prices at the high end of the industry. Its healthy image, focus on the shopping experience, and an upscale client base are largely the reasons.

The company’s top line grew right through the 2007 to 2009 recession. Although earnings have been more volatile, the company is solidly profitable (2012 earnings were over $2.50 per share and haven’t dipped below $0.80 in a decade). This is a unique bright spot in the grocery industry and, no surprise, an environmental good guy, too.

The Supplier

United Natural Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ:UNFI), meanwhile, boasts similarly impressive top line results, but has been more consistent on the bottom line. The only earnings dip was a four cent shortfall in 2008. Earnings were around $0.50 a share in 2003 and were over $1.80 in 2012.

United Natural Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ:UNFI) shares are off from recent highs, which could make now a decent time to take a position for growth oriented investors. Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM), however, is again reaching new highs, so it might be more appropriate for momentum investors and those with an aggressive growth bias.

It’s Easy Being Green

These four stocks show that it’s easier being a green investor than it might at first appear. Symantec is a turnaround play, but Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST), Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM), and United Natural Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ:UNFI) shares have all been doing quite well. They are most appropriate for momentum and growth investors.

The article Environmental Investing: Part 1 originally appeared on and is written by Reuben Brewer.

Reuben Brewer has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Costco Wholesale and Whole Foods Market. The Motley Fool owns shares of Costco Wholesale, General Electric Company, and Whole Foods Market. Reuben is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network — entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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