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Investing in food stocks

It is consistently in demand, but not consistently profitable.

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 and some didn’t come back. The ones that did faced particular challenges, such as smaller menus and capacity.
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 decide.

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

See how the following stocks are performing, and view details like market capitalization, the price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio, price/earnings-to-growth (PEG) ratio and dividend yield.

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)

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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