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Investing in food stocks

It is consistently in demand, but not consistently profitable.

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Since food is a necessity, investing in food stocks can sound like a lucrative venture. But it involves some risks you need to consider.

What is a food stock?

Food stocks are stocks in any company involved in the production and transportation of food from the farm to your stomach. So you can invest in stocks related to any of the following industries:

  • Farming equipment
  • Farming
  • Food processing
  • Food packaging
  • Food distribution
  • Groceries
  • Supermarkets
  • Restaurants

These industries keep the world food supply running and are essential to everyday life. For instance, think about how your morning coffee ended up in your cup — it all started in the ground as a coffee bean.

Farmers need water, fertilizers and other resources to grow these beans. Beans then need to be processed, transported, roasted, brewed and finally poured into your cup. This process involves companies making farming equipment and chemicals, transportation services, roasters and employees at cafés around the world — just to name a few players.

Why invest in food stocks?

Because humans need food, some investors may find food stocks consistent and stable. A growing health-conscious population has also made vegan stocks, organic-food stocks and similar securities grow in popularity.

According to Statista, the United States food market revenue in 2020 has amounted to nearly $924.39 million and it’s expected to grow annually by 1.8%. But to invest in food stocks, you need to know what role these companies play in the food-production process and the risks involved.

Restaurant stocks vs. food stocks

Restaurant stocks are a subcategory of food stocks. These include stocks of full-service restaurants, fast-food establishments and snack bars. But they may be particularly volatile.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many restaurants were forced to temporarily close. Some didn’t come back. And the ones that did may face particular challenges such as smaller menus and capacity.
In other words, many can’t operate at full force and that may hurt their bottom line.

Still, you can find restaurant stocks tied to large chains that operate throughout the country. Many restaurants are also benefiting from delivery services like DoorDash. In any case, you should carefully evaluate restaurant stocks and the companies behind them before you make a decision.

Risks of investing in food stocks

Because many industries and companies are involved in food production, it can run into several risks. For instance, weather can severely affect crop production. Political turmoil in a country can substantially impact the food and raw material they export.

Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected how food is processed, handled and transported. The lockdowns and social distancing rules had harmful effects on the restaurant industry. In some states like New York, restaurants are only beginning to allow patrons inside at limited capacity after having been closed for months.

But simultaneously, some grocery stocks saw a spike. Grocery stocks are other types of food stocks. They belong to supermarkets and other major stores where you can buy food to prepare.

For example, Costco stocks closed around 298. In late October, its stocks closed closer to 373.

Regardless of what types of food stocks you invest in, make sure you carefully analyze your options as well as the risks they may face.

Food stocks

Select a company to learn more about what they do and how their stock performs, including market capitalization, the price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio, price/earnings-to-growth (PEG) ratio and dividend yield. While this list includes a selection of the most well-known and popular stocks, it doesn't include every stock available.

What ETFs track the food category?

If you’re not into stock picking, you may consider investing in stock ETFs. These have become popular in recent years because they offer access to a diversified basket of stocks. Here are some food stock ETFs you may be interested in.

  • Invesco Dynamic Food & Beverage ETF (PBJ)
  • WBI BullBear Rising Income 1000 ETF (WBIE)
  • First Trust Nasdaq Food & Beverage ETF (FTXG)

Compare trading platforms

To invest in food stocks, you need to open a brokerage account. Shop around to explore your options.

Name Product Stock trade fee Asset types Option trade fee Annual fee
Vanguard
$0
Stocks, Mutual funds, ETFs, Forex
$1
$20 per year
Get a personal advisor when you open an account with at least $50,000.
Sofi Invest
$0
Stocks, ETFs, Cryptocurrency
N/A
0%
A free way to invest in stocks, ETFs and crypto.
Robinhood
$0
Stocks, Options, ETFs, Cryptocurrency
$0
0%
Make unlimited commission-free trades in stocks, funds, and options with Robinhood Financial.
Interactive Brokers
$0
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual funds, Index funds, ETFs, Futures, Cash
$0 + $0.65/contract, $1 minimum
0%
IBKR Lite offers $0 commissions, and IBKR Pro offers advanced tools for professional traders.
TD Ameritrade
$0
or $25 broker-assisted
Stocks
$0 + $0.65/contract,
or $25 broker-assisted
TD Ameritrade features $0 commission for online stock, but watch out for high short-term ETF and broker-assisted trading fees.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: The value of any investment can go up or down depending on news, trends and market conditions. We are not investment advisers, so do your own due diligence to understand the risks before you invest.

Bottom line

Because food will be consistently in demand, food stocks may sound like stable investments. But they carry risks and require careful analysis.

Before you start investing in food stocks, compare stock trading platforms.

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