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10 Best Food Stocks To Buy Now

In this article we discuss the 10 best food stocks to buy now. The food industry remains ripe for further growth amid a surging demand and changing consumer trends. You can skip our investment thesis for the food industry and click here to read 5 Best Food Stocks to Buy Now. Food remains one of […]

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In this article we discuss the 10 best food stocks to buy now. The food industry remains ripe for further growth amid a surging demand and changing consumer trends. You can skip our investment thesis for the food industry and click here to read 5 Best Food Stocks to Buy Now.

Food remains one of the thriving industries worldwide, given its essential business nature and a strong connection to consumers. In 2020, global food industry revenue jumped by a record 20% year over year to reach $8.2 trillion, driven by a huge demand increase amid the coronavirus outbreak. As the pandemic disrupted global food supply chains, consumers flocked to convenience stores to load up their carts, resulting in a 76% rise in convenience food sales. Food industry in the U.S. is extremely diverse, with a variety of subsectors. Moody’s said in an October 2020 report that it expects a slight decline in sales and earnings in the packaged food industry in 2021 when compared to 2020, but the industry will rebound to strong growth levels in 2022 and beyond. The firm maintained its stable outlook for the packaged foods industry, while forecasting that EBIT will continue to rise steadily over the next 18 months.

Coronavirus Altered Consumer Behavior Forever?

The coronavirus crisis was a boon for at-home food consumption as people restricted their movement and governments barred dine-out operations. According to International Food Information Council’s (IFIC) 2020 Food & Health Survey report, 60% of Americans said they started cooking at home more after the coronavirus outbreak, while 32% said they are snacking more. Overall, 27% respondents said they are thinking about food more than usual. All these trends show that the future looks bright for food stocks in the U.S. Analysts think these trends will become the new normal even after the pandemic. About 75% respondents in a survey conducted by New York-based PR and food research firm Hunter said that they have become more confident in the kitchen, while 73% said they are enjoying cooking in the kitchen.

Major food companies, including General Mills, Conagra Brands and Campbell Soup Co., are reporting huge profits and revenue growth amid the changing consumer behavior. In the fiscal fourth quarter, General Mills said its U.S. meals and baking revenue jumped 75%, while cereal sales rose 26% in the period.  General Mills CEO Jeff Harmening in December 2020 said that consumer eating habits will not go back to where they were before the pandemic.

Digital Footprint of Food Companies

Food companies are also rapidly changing their strategies to adapt to the changing market. Deloitte said in its Consumer Products Industry 2021 outlook report that food companies’ hold on ecommerce channels is still thin. They will have to increase their digital investments to catch the growing market.

Fresh Food Market

Consumers are also preferring to eat healthy food and fresh items that have shorter shelf lives. Food companies will have to work on their packaging and storage capacities to capture this market. A report by LEK consulting found that 93% of consumers want to eat healthy at least some of the time, while 63% try to eat healthy most or all of the time.

It’s not just the food industry which is experiencing drastic changes. The financial markets worldwide are becoming volatile. The hedge fund industry’s reputation has been tarnished in the last decade during which its hedged returns couldn’t keep up with the unhedged returns of the market indices. On the other hand, Insider Monkey’s research was able to identify in advance a select group of hedge fund holdings that outperformed the S&P 500 ETFs by more than 88 percentage points since March 2017 (see the details here). We were also able to identify in advance a select group of hedge fund holdings that significantly underperformed the market. We have been tracking and sharing the list of these stocks since February 2017 and they lost 13% through November 16. That’s why we believe hedge fund sentiment is an extremely useful indicator that investors should pay attention to. You can subscribe to our free newsletter on our homepage to receive our stories in your inbox.

Pixabay/Public Domain

Let’s take a look at 10 best food stocks to buy now. We choose these stocks by analyzing the 13F data of top hedge funds, their financial health and growth catalysts.

10. UNILEVER N.V. Common Stock (NYSE: UL)

Unilever is a London-based multinational giant that makes various products, including food, confections, energy drinks, baby food, soft drinks, cheese, ice cream and tea. In the third quarter, Unilever posted a revenue of €12.93 billion, beating the Wall Street estimate by €240 million. In November 2020, the company announced a goal of  €1 billion in annual sales from plant-based meat and dairy alternatives, within the next five to seven years.

As of the end of the third quarter, 19 hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey held stakes in Unilever. Here is what Mott Capital said about Unilever last year:

“Unilever (UL) fell by almost 5% in the fourth quarter but managed to increase by 9.4% on the year. The company’s fourth quarter decline followed a disappointing sales outlook, noting it would be at the lower end of its prior range. The story for the company hasn’t changed much over the years, with prospects for growth coming from many emerging markets. I continue to believe this company offers a level of stability to the portfolio, and its reach into the growing middle class around the world remains very attractive over the long-term.”

9. Archer-Daniels-Midland Co (NYSE: ADM)

Archer-Daniels-Midland Company, often known as ADM, is a multinational food processing company, with about 270 plants and 420 crop procurement facilities worldwide. The company processes cereal grains and oilseeds into products used in food and beverages.

In November, Credit Suisse upgraded the stock to Neutral from Underperform with a $46 price target. The firm’s analyst Robert Moskow said that he was concerned about the company’s services and ethanol business in the summer, but the key facets of the business have since turned more positive.

Ric Dillon’s Diamond Hill Capital is one of the 26 elite hedge funds having stakes in ADM as of the end of the third quarter. Here is what he said last year about ADM:

“Agricultural commodities producer Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. outperformed after reporting solid quarterly results. The company benefited from the renewal of the biodiesel tax credit, as well as continued growth in its nutrition business. The company has heavy exposure to agriculture and basic food products and tends to perform well in times of market turbulence.”

8. Campbell Soup Company (NYSE: CPB)

Campbell Soup ranks 8th on the list of 10 best food stocks to buy now. The company is famous for its flagship  canned soup products, canned meals, baked goods, beverages, and snacks. The New Jersey-based company is behind several famous brands, including Pepperidge Farm, Snyder’s of Hanover, V8, and Swanson.

In October 2020, R5 Capital upgraded Campbell Soup shares to Buy from Hold, with a price target of $59. The firm’s analyst Scott Mushkin said that Campbell’s new management has worked hard to increase efficiencies and cut costs. He also believes that the company’s acquisition of Snyder’s-Lance will create new synergies and income streams.

As of the end of the third quarter, 28 hedge funds in Insider Monkey’s database held stakes in Campbell, down from 32 funds a quarter earlier. Here is what Third Point said about CPB in its 2020 Q2 investor letter:

“One of our biggest winners in Q4 and 2019 was Campbell, which gained over 6% in Q4 and 55% overall in 2019. Our initial foray into Campbell was met with skepticism, both in terms of the difficulty in effecting change in a family-controlled board and the seeming difficulty in turning around what most thought was a moribund and declining business. We saw things differently and created an opening for an attractive settlement with the board by securing support from all proxy advisory firms and building consensus among non-family shareholders around the need for change.

The Board has been refreshed with the addition of three directors – two former packaged food CEOs and a marketing guru. The senior leadership team has been upgraded with the appointment of a new CEO and CFO. The balance sheet has been repaired with the divestiture of non-core fresh food and international snacks businesses for more than $3 billion, which reduced leverage from ~5x to 3.5x. The core business has stabilized, providing a stronger foundation on which to build. And, a compelling multi-year turnaround is now underway to return the company to sustainable sales and earnings growth.

CEO Mark Clouse, who is only one year into his tenure, has demonstrated how powerful leadership working with an engaged board can revitalize a company. During the most recent quarterly call in December, Clouse was upbeat about the potential for top line growth in 2020, which is key to the next leg of the story. Given strong 2019 performance, we took some profits and reduced our position to below 5% of the company, however we remain enthusiastic about Clouse’s leadership and Campbell’s future and are pleased to have played a role in repositioning this iconic company.”

7. Hormel Foods Corp (NYSE: HRL)

Hormell Foods started off in the meat industry selling ham, sausage, chicken, beef and lamb products, but now has presence in about 80 countries all over the world and sells famous branded-products including Applegate, Columbus Craft Meats, Dinty Moore, Jennie-O and Skippy. In the fourth quarter, the company reported a revenue of $2.42 billion, down 3.2% year over year and missing the Street’s estimate by $180 million.

Cliff Asness’ AQR Capital Management is one of the 30 hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey having stakes in Hormel Foods as of the end of the third quarter. The fund owns 3.65 million shares of the company, worth $177.75 million.

6. Kellogg Company (NYSE: K)

Michigan-based Kellog is famous for its cereal and convenience foods. Some of the company’s known brands include Corn Flakes, Frosted Flakes, Pringles, Eggo, and Cheez-It. In October 2020, the company reported a 4.5% growth in third-quarter sales, above the Street’s estimate of 4%. The company continues to see a strong growth in Asia and Latin America. The company also increased its FY2020  revenue guidance to 6%, versus its prior outlook of 5%.

Jim Simons’ Renaissance Technologies owns 2.73 million shares of the company as of the end of the third quarter, worth $176.46 million. Overall, 35 hedge funds in Insider Monkey’s database held positions in Kellog entering the fourth quarter of 2020.

Continue reading this article by clicking 5 Best Food Stocks to Buy Now.

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Disclosure: No positions. 10 Best Food Stocks To Buy Now is originally published at Insider Monkey.

Food Blogger USA

Rare case of Denmark variant identified in North Carolina

Here you can find up-to-the-minute information on the coronavirus in the Piedmont Triad, North Carolina and the surrounding region. © WBAL vaccine Click the video player above for the latest information from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper. Sign up for our Newsletters Live Updates: © Provided by WXII 12 Greensboro-Winston-Salem There are 4,674 new cases, […]

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Here you can find up-to-the-minute information on the coronavirus in the Piedmont Triad, North Carolina and the surrounding region.



a bottle of water: vaccine


© WBAL
vaccine

Click the video player above for the latest information from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.

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Live Updates:



text: There are 4,674 new cases, 2,378 people are in the hospital, 9,983 people have died, and the daily percent positive is at 7.4%.


© Provided by WXII 12 Greensboro-Winston-Salem
There are 4,674 new cases, 2,378 people are in the hospital, 9,983 people have died, and the daily percent positive is at 7.4%.

12:45 p.m. Monday: As COVID-19 deaths in North Carolina near 10,000, new cases and the number of those in hospitals across the state continue to decline.



table: Coronavirus variant cases in states MAKO Medical conducts tests


© MAKO Medical
Coronavirus variant cases in states MAKO Medical conducts tests

9 a.m. Monday: Thomasville Community Schools reopened to students Monday morning for alternating A/B groups.

Group A will attend classes Mondays and Thursdays. Group B will learn in-person Tuesday and Thursdays.

Fridays will be remote learning for all students.

12:45 p.m. Sunday: North Carolina reported 57 deaths and the lowest percent positive rate, 7.4%, that has been seen in more than a month Sunday.

3:10 p.m. Saturday: There’s a misconception when it comes to suicide that the winter months foster higher numbers of people in crisis. Charlotte-native and suicide prevention instructor Fonda Bryant argues that it’s an everyday health crisis.



text: COVID-19


© Provided by WXII 12 Greensboro-Winston-Salem
COVID-19

“Mental health isn’t one size fits all,” Bryant said. “People think it’s just on an individual, case-by-case basis. But people are dying every day. It’s a huge problem.”

Bryant had just started teaching QPR Suicide Prevention Training courses (QPR stands for Question, Persuade, Refer), with only a couple of in-person lessons under her belt, when the pandemic forced everyone to go virtual. She quickly transitioned to running training classes online and realized the internet gave her the opportunity to reach more people.

Click the link below to read more.

12 p.m. Saturday: NCDHHS added new demographic data for coronavirus vaccinations per county on the vaccination page of its dashboard.

Data is now available for the first dose as well as the first and second dose of the vaccine for race, ethnicity, gender and age group. This data does not include information administered through the federal long-term care facilities program.

“North Carolina continues to lead the country on data transparency with a focus on race and ethnicity data,” said NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen. “More importantly, we use this critical data to drive our vaccine operations work to ensure equity across our state.”

North Carolina was one of the first states to release statewide race and ethnicity data for the vaccines.

11:30 a.m. Saturday: A coronavirus test facility identified a rare case of a Denmark “cluster five” variant in North Carolina Saturday.

Scientists are still determining more about this variation. “Preliminary findings suggested that there was a lower capability of antibodies to neutralize the Cluster 5 strain, which requires further investigation,” according to the World Health Organization.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the B.1.1.7 variant, also known as the U.K. variant, is the most widespread variant with 611 known cases in the country as of Feb. 4. MAKO Medical identified five total cases in North Carolina.

The CDC does not have the Denmark variant on its variant tracking chart at this time.

“As we continue our sequencing of indicated samples, we have found a continued rise in variant occurrences,” said Steve Hoover, vice president of laboratory operations at MAKO Medical. “Over the past week, indicated samples are now returning positive variant cases at a fifty-percent rate, up from a twenty-five percent rate last week. The information we are collecting is shared directly with state health officials to assist in understanding the presence of the variants in communities across the country.”

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READ THE FULL STORY:LIVE BLOG: Rare case of Denmark variant identified in North Carolina

CHECK OUT WXII:Get the latest Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem news of the day. Catch the top stories, sports and weather from the team at WXII12.

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How a four-ingredient recipe went from Finnish blog post to viral sensation on TikTok and beyond

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Have you heard of pancake cereal? Greek yoghurt bagels? Vodka pasta sauce?

If the answer is no, it’s probably because you’re not on TikTok.

The recipes for all of these have recently gone viral on the video sharing platform, drumming up millions of millennial views and lining millions of millennial stomachs, but gathering little traction elsewhere.

This baked feta pasta dish has had two viral lives.

grilledcheesesocial/instagram

This baked feta pasta dish has had two viral lives.

But the latest viral TikTok recipe is different. After amassing tens of millions of views on TikTok, it’s expanded its fan base to Gen X-ers and beyond; a search on that most boomer of social media platforms, Facebook, yields dozens of hits.

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So what is this recipe so delicious it’s bringing generations together?

Why, it’s a baked feta pasta. You might even have heard of it.

The origins of this simple recipe – it requires just four ingredients, one of which is dry pasta – appear to lie with a post from Finnish blogger Jenni Hayrinen, who posted the recipe for a dish called “uunifetapasta” just over two years ago.

Pancake cereal is huge on TikTok but little-known elsewhere.

myhealthydish/tiktok

Pancake cereal is huge on TikTok but little-known elsewhere.

According to Hayrinen, sales for feta cheese shot up by 300 per cent in Finland after she posted the recipe. The blog post, she said in September last year, had over 2.7 million views.

“Finland has 5.5 million inhabitants, to put things in perspective,” she added.

Hayrinen posted the recipe in Finnish, which limited her reach somewhat, but she credits its global spread to American food influencer MacKenzie Smith (grilledcheesesocial on Instagram and Tik Tok), who was alerted to uunifetapasta by a friend who was dating a Finnish chef.

How popular is it online?

On January 29, Smith shared the recipe on TikTok, where it was quickly picked up by other influential accounts like feelgoodfoodie, who shared it with her 900,000 followers on January 31.

Her video has been viewed 7.8 million times, and all up, posts tagged #bakedfetapasta have been played more than 48 million times on TikTok.

While those numbers might sound avocado-smashingly high to the non-TikTokkers among us, they’re actually only medium beans for viral recipes; #pancakecereal has well over a billion views.

Why is it so popular?

What’s interesting about baked feta pasta is that it’s made the leap from TikTok’s largely millennial user base all the way to Facebook’s decidedly older one.

There’s a section of the social media venn diagram that uses both Facebook and TikTok, and it’s populated with those who don’t find the idea of a pancake cereal appetising (that recipe appears to be entirely absent from Facebook, despite its TikTok domination) but who love anything that involves an abundance of cherry tomatoes and fresh basil.

Thanks to them, baked feta pasta has been picked up in the last week or so by Facebook pages like Cookist Wow, with over 19 million followers, and has found a second viral life on a second platform.

But what is it?

Like any virus, the dish has mutated as it’s spread and there are low-carb, vegan, keto, and gluten-free versions out there, but in essence little of this Finnish recipe has been lost in translation: You throw a couple of punnets of cherry tomatoes into a dish along with a couple of whole cloves of garlic and a block of feta. Drizzle the whole thing with olive oil, and bake it for half an hour or so, until the feta is brown and the tomatoes have burst. Then squeeze your garlic out of its skin, add some fresh basil and toss the whole thing with cooked pasta. Voila.

Of course, we all know that as soon as the oldies like something it immediately stops being cool, so #bakedfetapasta might be coming to the end of its run.

But look out for it on your Nana’s dinner table.

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Can Biden Save Canada-U.S. Agri-Food Trade

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Although international trade has long been affected by domestic politics, former U.S. president Donald Trump dramatically increased trade irritants between the United States and Canada. This was especially challenging in the agricultural sector where political interference in international trade is more prevalent than in the non-agricultural sector.

In our recent article in the Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics, we analyzed how Trump’s presidency affected agri-food trade between the two countries and how the situation might change under President Joe Biden.

We argue that Trump’s negative rhetoric and actions heightened trade uncertainty and undermined global trading rules, which tends to disrupt international trade. This was a major challenge for a small open economy like Canada that depends largely on the American market. In particular, the politically sensitive nature of the agri-food sector makes agricultural trade highly dependent on diplomatic ties between countries.

Canada more reliant on the U.S.

Canada’s relationship with the U.S. is important for the agri-food sector in both countries, but it’s somewhat one-sided in terms of Canadian reliance on the American market.

Canada is the top destination for American agricultural exports, accounting for 15 per cent of the country’s total agricultural exports in 2019. Conversely, the U.S. is the foremost buyer of Canadian agri-food products, accounting for 58 per cent of total Canadian agri-food exports. This isn’t surprising due to the countries’ close proximity and similar consumer tastes and values.

But the Canada-U.S. political relationship became hostile during the Trump presidency due to the former president’s erratic foreign policy decisions, tariff wars and his verbal attacks on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The tense political relationship created an environment of uncertainty, adversely affecting the bilateral trading relationship.

Major trade disputes between the two countries at both the World Trade Organization (WTO) and within the former North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have largely involved the agricultural sector. WTO trade disputes over softwood lumber, hard wheat and durum and the compulsory country-of-origin labelling requirements, for example, were all within the agricultural sector.

The long-standing softwood lumber dispute predates Trump, but was escalated during his presidency and could not be sorted out under NAFTA and WTO dispute settlement mechanisms. It was resolved only through political negotiations when both parties signed a memorandum of understanding.

Canada diversifying?

The graph below shows that although bilateral agri-food exports from Canada to the U.S. increased marginally from 2015 and 2019, Canadian agri-food imports from the U.S. remained flat.

Agri-food imports and exports. Author provided

The increasing number of agri-food imports to Canada from nations other than the U.S., and the flat-lining of imports from south of the border, shows the Canadian economy may be diversifying away from the U.S. and not relying solely on Americans to be the main suppliers of its food basket.

Continuing trade uncertainty with the U.S. could push Canada to pursue its market diversification agenda more aggressively. Canada has shown serious signs of market diversification through its membership in two major free-trade agreements — the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union and the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) with Pacific Rim countries.

 

Biden’s presidency

In his inaugural speech, Biden promised to immediately work to repair and renew relationships with U.S. allies and return America to a leadership role in the world. His first call to a foreign leader was made to Trudeau, and he assured the prime minister that “Buy American” policies weren’t aimed at Canada.

Biden is facing significant domestic political challenges, and it’s too soon to know how he’ll deal with trade irritants and address the harm done by the Trump administration. But it’s clear he’s intent on returning to multilateralism.

The American dissatisfaction with the World Trade Organization (WTO) predates Trump and runs deep in the U.S. Barack Obama’s administration also blocked appointments to the appellate body based on this dissatisfaction. However, Biden has been clear about supporting a strong multilateral trading system and isn’t expected to be obstructionist like the Trump administration, but instead will likely work with allies to address concerns with the WTO.

When it comes to trade deals, Biden has acknowledged the importance of deals like the CPTPP that Trump pulled out of on his third day in office. But he’s also promised to protect American workers.

Protectionist forces

Protectionist forces will continue to disrupt trade between the two countries, but we can expect a closer and more constructive relationship under Biden. Trade disputes won’t disappear, but the approach to them will change, and improved U.S.-Canada diplomatic relations will have a positive impact on Canada’s agri-food sector.

Canada’s prime minister and Biden are much closer in terms of ideology, policy objectives and leadership style than Trump and Trudeau were, and they share views on eliminating trade barriers instead of imposing them.

The past four years of trade tensions between the U.S. and Canada were largely politically motivated, especially Trump’s imposition of steel and aluminium tariffs in the name of national security, which Canada responded to by imposing retaliatory tariffs on a number of agri-food products from the United States.

Such unilateral decisions will probably be minimal under Biden. Bilateral trade flows between both countries are unlikely to be affected by the types of erratic trade actions favoured by Trump.

Closer political ties between the Biden administration and the Canadian prime minister means a more constructive and co-operative approach to solving challenges between the two countries in the agri-food sector. Trade disputes will undoubtedly continue, but diplomatic efforts will work to resolve these disputes. This is a positive development for the Canadian agri-food industry.

The Conversation

Sylvanus Kwaku Afesorgbor, Assistant Professor, Agri-Food Trade and Policy, University of Guelph and Eugene Beaulieu, Professor, Economics, University of Calgary

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Image: Reuters

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