Top Food Companies To Buy Right Now

For years, satirical late-night TV host Stephen Colbert has been running a series on his show called “Better Know a District,” which highlights one of the 435 U.S. congressional districts and its representative. While I am no Stephen Colbert, I am brutally inquisitive when it comes to the 5,000-plus listed companies on the U.S. stock exchanges.

That’s why I’ve made it a weekly tradition to examine one seldom-followed company within the Motley Fool CAPS database, and make a CAPScall of outperform or underperform on that company.

For this week’s round of “Better Know a Stock,” I’m going to take a closer look at Rentech Nitrogen Partners (NYSE: RNF  ) .

What Rentech Nitrogen Partners does
As you may have correctly suspected from the name, Rentech Nitrogen is a nitrogen-based fertilizer company. It has two production facilities in the U.S., and its fertilizers, which include ammonia, urea ammonium nitrate solution (UAN), and ammonium sulfate, are sold through distribution agreements to help aid farmers with regard to crop yield.

Top Food Companies To Buy Right Now: CHS Inc (CHSCP)

CHS Inc. (CHS) is an integrated agricultural company. As a cooperative, the Company is owned by farmers and ranchers and their member cooperatives (members) across the United States. The Company buys commodities from and provide products and services to patrons (including its members and other non-member customers), both domestic and international. It provides a variety of products and services, from initial agricultural inputs, such as fuels, farm supplies, crop nutrients and crop protection products, to agricultural outputs, which include grains and oilseeds, grain and oilseed processing and food products. A portion of its operations are conducted through equity investments and joint ventures. The Company has three segments: Energy, Ag Business, and Corporate and Other. In February 2012, the Company acquired Solbar. In May 2012, the Company acquired a 51% interest in CZL Ltd. In August 2012, it acquired Atman. Effective July 28, 2013, CHS Inc, a unit of Hamilton Farm Bur eau Co-Operative Inc, acquired a 50% interest in AgFarm Pty Ltd, from Ruralco Holdings Ltd.

During the fiscal year ended August 31, 2011 (fiscal 2011), the Company dissolved its United Harvest joint venture, which operated two grain export facilities in Washington that were leased from the joint venture participants. During fiscal 2011, the Company sold its 45% ownership interest in Multigrain to one of its joint venture partners, Mitsui & Co., Ltd. During fiscal 2011, the Company, through its wholly owned subsidiary, CHS Europe, S.A. acquired Agri Point Ltd.

The Company’s Energy segment derives its revenues through refining, wholesaling and retailing of petroleum products. Its Ag Business segment derives its revenues through the origination and marketing of grain, including service activities conducted at export terminals, through the wholesale sales of crop nutrients, from the sales of soybean meal and soybean refined oil and through the retail sales of petroleum and agronomy products, processed sunflow! ers, feed and farm supplies, and records equity income from investments in its grain export joint ventures and other investments. It includes other business operations in Corporate and Other. These businesses primarily include its financing, insurance, hedging and other service activities related to crop production. In addition, the Company’s wheat milling and packaged food operations are included in Corporate and Other.

Energy

The Company is the nation’s cooperative energy company based on revenues and identifiable assets. The Company’s operations include petroleum refining and pipelines; the supply, marketing (including ethanol and biodiesel) and distribution of refined fuels (gasoline, diesel fuel and other energy products); the blending, sale and distribution of lubricants; and the wholesale supply of propane. The Energy segment processes crude oil into refined petroleum products at refineries in Laurel, Montana (wholly owned) and McPhers on, Kansas (an entity in which the Company has an approximate 74.5% ownership interest) and sells those products under the Cenex brand to member cooperatives and others through a network of approximately 1,400 independent retail sites, of which 57% are convenience stores marketing Cenex branded fuels.

The Company’s Laurel, Montana refinery processes medium and high sulfur crude oil into refined petroleum products that primarily include gasoline, diesel fuel, petroleum coke and asphalt. Its Laurel refinery sources approximately 85% of its crude oil supply from Canada, with the balance obtained from domestic sources, and the Company has access to Canadian and northwest Montana crude through its wholly owned Front Range Pipeline, LLC and other common carrier pipelines. Its Laurel refinery also has access to Wyoming crude via common carrier pipelines from the south. The Laurel facility processes approximately 55,000 barrels of crude oil per day to produce refined products that consist of approximately 43% gasoline, 37% die! sel fuel ! and other distillates, 5% petroleum coke, and 15% asphalt and other products. Refined fuels produced at Laurel are available via the Yellowstone Pipeline to western Montana terminals and to Spokane and Moses Lake, Washington, south via common carrier pipelines to Wyoming terminals and Denver, Colorado, and east via its wholly owned Cenex Pipeline, LLC to Glendive, Montana, and Minot and Fargo, North Dakota.

The McPherson, Kansas refinery is owned and operated by National Cooperative Refinery Association (NCRA), of which the Company owns approximately 74.5%. The McPherson refinery processes approximately 85% low and medium sulfur crude oil and 15% heavy sulfur crude oil into gasoline, diesel fuel and other distillates, propane and other products. NCRA sources its crude oil through its own pipelines as well as common carrier pipelines. The low and medium sulfur crude oil is sourced from Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, and the heavy sulfur crude oil is sourced from Can ada. The McPherson refinery processes approximately 85,000 barrels of crude oil per day to produce refined products that consist of approximately 49% gasoline, 45% diesel fuel and other distillates, and 6% propane and other products. Approximately 32% of the refined fuels are loaded into trucks at the McPherson refinery or shipped via NCRA’s products pipeline to its terminal in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The remaining refined fuel products are shipped to other markets via common carrier pipelines.

The Company’s renewable fuels marketing business markets and distributes ethanol and biodiesel products throughout the United States and overseas by contracting with ethanol and biodiesel production plants to market and distribute their finished products. It owns and operates a propane terminal, four asphalt terminals, seven refined product terminals and three lubricants blending and packaging facilities. The Company also owns and leases a fleet of liquid and pressure t railers and tractors, which are used to transport refined fu! els, prop! ane, anhydrous ammonia and other products.

The Company’s Energy segment produces and sells (primarily wholesale) gasoline, diesel fuel, propane, asphalt, lubricants and other related products and provides transportation services. It obtains the petroleum products that it sells from its Laurel and McPherson refineries, and from third parties. In fiscal 2011, the Company obtained approximately 55% of the refined products it sold from its Laurel and McPherson refineries, and approximately 45% from third parties.

Ag Business

The Company’s Ag Business segment includes crop nutrients, country operations, grain marketing and oilseed processing. The revenues in its Ag Business segment primarily include grain sales. Its wholesale crop nutrients business sells approximately 5.6 million tons of fertilizer annually. Primary suppliers for the Company’s wholesale crop nutrients business include CF Industries, Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, Mosaic Company, Koch Industries, Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC) in Kuwait and Belrusian Potash Company. The Company’s wholesale crop nutrients business sells nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and sulfate based products. During fiscal 2011, the primary crop nutrients products the Company purchased were urea, potash, UAN, phosphates and ammonia. The wholesale crop nutrients business sells product to approximately 2,000 local retailers from New York to the west coast and from the Canadian border to Texas. Its largest customer is its own country operations business, which is also included in its Ag Business segment.

The Company’s country operations business purchases a variety of grains from its producer members and other third parties, and provides cooperative members and customers with access to a range of products, programs and services for production agriculture. Country operations operates 401 locations through 67 business units, the majority of whic h have local producer boards dispersed throughout Colorado, ! Idaho, Il! linois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas and Washington. Most of these locations purchase grain from farmers and sell agronomy, energy, feed and seed products to those same producers and others, although not all locations provide every product and service.

The Company is one of the country elevator operators in North America based on revenues. Through a majority of the Company’s locations, its country operations business units purchase grain from member and non-member producers and other elevators and grain dealers. Most of the grain purchased is sold through its grain marketing operations, used for livestock feed production or sold to other processing companies. For the year ended August 31, 2011, country operations purchased approximately 582 million bushels of grain, primarily wheat, corn and soybeans. Of these bushels, 558 million were purchased from members and 417 million were sold through it s grain marketing operations. Its country operations business units manufacture and sell other products, both directly and through ownership interests in other entities. These include seed, crop nutrients, crop protection products, energy products, animal feed, animal health products and processed sunflower products.

The Company is the cooperative marketer of grain and oilseed based on grain storage capacity and grain sales, handling over 2.1 billion bushels annually. During fiscal 2011, it purchased approximately 60% of its total grain volumes from individual and cooperative association members and its country operations business, with the balance purchased from third parties. The Company arranges for the transportation of the grains either directly to customers or to its owned or leased grain terminals and elevators awaiting delivery to domestic and foreign purchasers. It primarily conducts its grain marketing operations directly, but do conduct some of its bu siness through joint ventures.

The Company’s! grain ma! rketing operations purchases grain directly and indirectly from agricultural producers primarily in the midwestern and western United States. The purchased grain is contracted for sale for future delivery at a specified location, and it is responsible for handling the grain and arranging for its transportation to that location. The Company owns and operates export terminals, river terminals and elevators involved in the handling and transport of grain. Its river terminals are used to load grain onto barges for shipment to both domestic and export customers via the Mississippi River system. These river terminals are located at Savage and Winona, Minnesota and Davenport, Iowa, as well as terminals in which it has put-through agreements located at St. Louis, Missouri and Beardstown and Havana, Illinois.

The Company’s export terminal at Superior, Wisconsin provides access to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, and its export terminal at Myrtle Grove, Louisia na serves the Gulf of Mexico market. In the Pacific Northwest, it conducts its grain marketing operations through TEMCO, LLC (a 50% joint venture with Cargill) which operates an export terminal in Tacoma, Washington, and primarily exports corn and soybeans. The Company owns two 110-car shuttle-receiving elevator facilities in Friona, Texas and Collins, Mississippi that serve large-scale feeder cattle, dairy and poultry producers in those regions.

For sourcing and marketing grains and oilseeds through the Black Sea and Mediterranean Basin regions to customers worldwide it has offices in Geneva, Switzerland; Barcelona, Spain; Kiev, Ukraine; and Vostok, Russia. In addition, it opened grain merchandising offices in fiscal 2011 in Budapest, Hungary; Novi Sad, Serbia; Bucharest, Romania; Sofia, Bulgaria; and a marketing office in Amman, Jordan. The Company has a deep water port in Constanta, Romania, a barge loading facility on the Danube River in Giurgiu, Romania, an d an inland grain terminal at Oroshaza, Hungary. In addition! , it has ! an investment in a port facility in Odessa, Ukraine. In the Pacific Rim area, it has offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai, China that serve customers receiving grains and oilseeds from its origination points in North and South America. In South America, the Company has a grain merchandising offices to source grains in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Buenos Aires, Argentina. It sells and markets crop nutrients from its Geneva, Switzerland; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Buenos Aires, Argentina offices.

The Company’s grain marketing operations purchased approximately 2.1 billion bushels of grain during fiscal 2011, which primarily included corn, soybeans, wheat and distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS). Of the total grains purchased by its grain marketing operations, 866 million bushels were from its individual and cooperative association members, 417 million bushels were from its country operations business and the remainder was from third parties. The Company’s oilseed pr ocessing operations convert soybeans into soybean meal, soyflour, crude soybean oil, refined soybean oil and associated by-products. These operations are conducted at a facility in Mankato, Minnesota that can crush approximately 40 million bushels of soybeans on an annual basis, producing approximately 960 thousand short tons of soybean meal and 460 million pounds of crude soybean oil. The same facility is able to process approximately 1.1 billion pounds of refined soybean oil annually. Another crushing facility in Fairmont, Minnesota has a crushing capacity of over 50 million bushels of soybeans on an annual basis, producing approximately 1.2 million short tons of soybean meal and 575 million pounds of crude soybean oil.

The Company’s oilseed processing operations produce three primary products: refined oils, soybean meal and soyflour. Refined oils are used in processed foods, such as margarine, shortening, salad dressings and baked goods, as well as methyl e ster/biodiesel production, and for certain industrial uses, ! such as p! lastics, inks and paints. Soybean meal has high protein content and is used for feeding livestock. Soyflour is used in the baking industry, as a milk replacement in animal feed and in industrial applications. It produces approximately 60 thousand tons of soyflour annually, and approximately 20% is further processed at its manufacturing facility in Hutchinson, Kansas. This facility manufactures unflavored and flavored textured soy proteins used in human and pet food products, and accounted for approximately 2% of its oilseed processing annual sales in fiscal 2011.

The Company’s soy processing facilities are located in areas with a strong production base of soybeans and end-user market for the meal and soyflour. It purchases virtually all of its soybeans from members. The Company’s oilseed crushing operations produce approximately 95% of the crude soybean oil that it refines, and purchases the balance from outside suppliers. Its customers for refined oil are p rincipally large food product companies located throughout the United States. However, over 50% of its customers are located in the midwest. Its largest customer for refined oil products is Ventura Foods, LLC (Ventura Foods), in which it holds a 50% ownership interest. The Company’s sales to Ventura Foods accounted for 27% of its soybean oil sold during fiscal 2011. The Company also sells soymeal to approximately 325 customers, primarily feed lots and feed mills in southern Minnesota. In fiscal 2011, Interstate Commodities accounted for 12% of its soymeal sold. It sells soyflour to customers in the baking industry both domestically and for export.

Corporate and Other

The Company has provided open account financing to approximately 100 of its members that are cooperatives (cooperative association members). These arrangements involve the discretionary extension of credit in the form of a clearing account for settlement of grain purchases and as a ca sh management tool. CHS Capital, LLC makes seasonal and term! loans to! member cooperatives and individual producers. The Company’s wholly owned subsidiary, Country Hedging, Inc., is a registered Futures Commission Merchant and a clearing member of both the Minneapolis Grain Exchange and the Kansas City Board of Trade. Country Hedging provides full-service commodity risk management brokerage and consulting services to its customers, primarily in the areas of agriculture and energy.

The Company’s wholly owned subsidiary, Ag States Agency, LLC, is a full-service independent insurance agency. It sells insurance, including all lines of insurance including property and casualty, group benefits and surety bonds. Its approximately 2,000 customers are primarily agribusinesses, including cooperatives and independent elevators, energy, agronomy, feed and seed plants, implement dealers and food processors. Impact Risk Solutions, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ag States Agency, LLC, conducts the insurance brokerage business of Ag States Group.

The Company’s primary focus in the foods area is Ventura Foods, LLC (Ventura Foods) which produces and distributes vegetable oil-based products, such as margarine, salad dressing and other food products. Ventura Foods is 50% owned by the Company. Ventura Foods manufactures, packages, distributes and markets bulk margarine, salad dressings, mayonnaise, salad oils, syrups, soup bases and sauces, many of which utilize soybean oil as a primary ingredient. Ventura Foods has 11 manufacturing and distribution locations across the United States. Ventura Foods sources its raw materials, which consist primarily of soybean oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, peanut oil and other ingredients and supplies, from various national suppliers, including its oilseed processing operations. Agriliance LLC (Agriliance) is owned and governed by CHS (50%) and Land O’Lakes, Inc. (50%).

The Company competes with ConocoPhillips, Valero, BP Amoco, Flint Hills Resourc es, CVR Energy, Western Petroleum Company, Marathon, ExxonMo! bil, Citg! o, Flint Hills Resources, U.S. Oil, Delek US Holdings, HollyFrontier Corporation, Sinclair Oil Corporation, Tesoro, Chevron, Koch Industries, Agrium, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Cargill, Incorporated (Cargill), Simplot, Helena, Wilbur Ellis, Land O’Lakes Purina Feed, Hubbard Milling, Columbia Grain, Gavilon, Bunge, Louis Dreyfus, Ag Processing Inc., Unilever, ConAgra, ACH Food Companies, Smuckers, Kraft and CF Sauer, Ken’s, Marzetti and Nestle.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    ConAgra said on Wednesday that it will close two plants in New York by early 2015, cutting more than 400 employees. The company also expects to close its $4 billion flour mill merger in the second calendar quarter of 2014. Privately held Cargill and CHS Inc. (NASDAQ: CHSCP) will hold 44% and 12%, respectively, of Ardent Mills, while ConAgra will hold the other 44%. Combined sales of what will be the country’s largest milling operation total $4.3 billion.

Top Food Companies To Buy Right Now: Koninklijke Ahold NV (AHONY)

Koninklijke Ahold N.V. (Ahold), incorporated on April 29, 1920, is engaged in the operation of retail food stores in the United States and Europe through subsidiaries and joint ventures. Ahold’s retail operations are presented in four segments: Stop & Shop/Giant-Landover, Giant-Carlisle, Albert Heijn and Albert/Hypernova. During the fiscal year ended January 3, 2010 (fiscal 2009), it operated 2,909 stores. On February 8, 2010, Ahold’s Giant-Carlisle acquired 25 stores from Ukrop’s Super Markets.

Franchisees operated 783 of the Albert Heijn, Etos and Gall & Gall stores, 463 of which were either owned by the franchisees or leased independently from Ahold. Of the 2,446 stores, 20% were company-owned and 80% were leased. Ahold’s stores range in size from 20 to over 10,000 square meters. Albert Heijn is a food retailer in the Netherlands. Etos is a health and beauty retailer in the Netherlands. Gall & Gall is a wine and liquor specialist in the Netherlands. Stop & Shop is a supermarket brand, operating in six states in the northeast United States. Giant-Landover is a supermarket brand, operating in four states in the mid-Atlantic United States. Peapod is an online grocery delivery service working in partnership with Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover. It also serves the metropolitan areas of Chicago, Illinois; Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin, and the northern areas of Indiana.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Rich Duprey]

    As mentioned, Kroger is still swallowing Harris Teeter and has said it needs time to make more acquisitions. Royal Ahold (NASDAQOTH: AHONY  ) is also said to be leery about doing large acquisitions these days, while Cerberus recently finished acquiring the Albertsons and Acme chains from SUPERVALU (NYSE: SVU  )  for $3.3 billion.

Top Food Companies To Buy Right Now: Greenfield Farms Food Inc (GRAS)

Greenfield Farms Food, Inc., formerly Sweet Spot Games, Inc., is a consumer and wholesale driven producer of grassfed beef. As of March 2, 2011, the Company had product in 55 retail locations, 51 with Lowes Foods Stores throughout North and South Carolina, three retail locations with the Healthy Home Markets in Charlotte, North Carolina and one custom butcher, The Peach Stand located in Ft. Mill, South Carolina. On March 1, 2011, the Company executed a plan of exchange and merger and acquired Greenfield Farms Grassfed Beef, Inc., a North Carolina company. As of March 2, 2011, the Company and its collective group of producers represented over 2,500 acres in pasture under management and approximately 2,000 head of cattle. In November 2013, Greenfield Farms Food Inc acquired Carmela’s Pizzeria.

The Company was established as a development-stage company, for developing online, multiplayer gaming applications. In February 2010, the Company abandoned the game deve lopment space.

The Company competes with White Oak Pastures (WOP).

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Peter Graham]

    Small cap stocks Greenfield Farms Food Inc (OTCMKTS: GRAS), International Stem Cell Corp (OTCMKTS: ISCO) and Redpoint Bio Corporation (OTCMKTS: RPBC) have all been getting some extra attention lately in various investment newsletters. However, none of these small cap stocks appear to have been the subject or paid promotions or investor relations activities. So does that make any of them good bets for traders and investors alike? Here is a quick look and a reality check:

Top Food Companies To Buy Right Now: MicroFinancial Incorporated(MFI)

Microfinancial Incorporated, through its subsidiaries, operates as a specialized commercial finance company that provides microticket equipment leasing and rental, and other financing services in the United States. The company provides financing alternatives, and leases and rents commercial equipment to start-up and established businesses for use in their daily operations. It leases water filtration systems, food service equipment, security equipment, point-of-sale cash registers, salon equipment, health care and fitness equipment, and automotive equipment. The company primarily sources its originations through a network of independent equipment vendors, sales organizations, and other dealer-based origination networks. Microfinancial Incorporated was founded in 1987 and is headquartered in Woburn, Massachusetts.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Gerrit De Vynck]

    Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (MFI), the Canadian producer of foods from hamburgers to frozen pasta, has drawn bids for its bread unit from Grupo Bimbo SAB, Flowers Foods Inc. (FLO) and several private-equity firms, three people with knowledge of the matter said.

  • [By Eric Lam]

    Alacer Gold Corp. and Iamgold Corp. rallied at least 5.9 percent as the metal traded at its highest in 11 weeks. Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (MFI) jumped 7.8 percent as it agreed to sell a unit for C$645 million ($614 million). Penn West Petroleum (PWT) Ltd. added 1.7 percent after cutting 25 percent of its workforce to reduce costs.

Top Food Companies To Buy Right Now: Rallye SA (RAL)

Rallye SA is a France-based holding company organized around two sectors of activity: large scale distribution to the food stores and supermarkets and distribution of sports items. The Company is present in France, Latin America, Poland, and Asia through its interests in brands, such as Geant, Monoprix, Leader Price, and United Grocers Cash & Carry, among others. It also has its interst in the Groupe Go Sport. Rallye SA is notably present in France, the United States, Luxembourg, Poland and Colombia, among others. The Company operates through its subsidiaries and affliated companies, such as Cobivia SAS, L’Habitation Moderne de Boulogne, Magasins Jean SAS, Matignon Sablons SAS, MFD SA, Parande SAS, Casino Guichaqrd Perrachon DA, Groupe Go Sport, Sivigral SCI and French Develompent Venture SA. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Holly LaFon]

    A risk involved with the company is that its Republic Bank & Trust business derives 78% of its net income from TRS, which offers bank products that help get customers who electronically file their tax returns their payments. RB&T is only of the few financial institutions in the U.S. that provide the service. Under the program, the taxpayer may receive a Refund Anticipation Loan (RAL), which has been questioned by various governmental and consumer groups. In May 2011, RB&T received an order to cease and desist which could result in an order by the FDIC to terminate its RAL program. It has a hearing on Feb. 12, 2012 in Kentucky regarding the matter.

Top Food Companies To Buy Right Now: Prestige Brand Holdings Inc.(PBH)

Prestige Brands Holdings, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in marketing, selling, and distributing over-the-counter healthcare and household cleaning products primarily in North America. The company?s Over-The-Counter Healthcare segment offers a portfolio of OTC products under nine core OTC brands, including Chloraseptic sore throat remedies, Clear Eyes eye drops, Compound W wart removers, Dramamine motion sickness products, Efferdent and Effergrip denture products, Little Remedies pediatric healthcare products, Luden’s cough drops, PediaCare pediatric healthcare products, and The Doctor?s brand of oral care products. This segment also provides other significant brands that include Dermoplast first-aid products, Murine eye and ear care products, NasalCrom allergy relief product, New-Skin liquid bandage, and Wartner wart removers. Its Household Cleaning segment markets household cleaning products, such as abrasive and non-abrasive tub and tile cleaner, scrubb i ng pads and sponges, dilutables, anti-bacterial hard surface spray for counter tops, and glass cleaners under the Comet, Chore Boy, and Spic and Span brands. Prestige Brands Holdings distributes its products through various retail channels, including drug, food, dollar, and club stores, as well as supermarkets and mass merchandisers. The company was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Irvington, New York.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Sean Williams]

    What: Shares of Prestige Brands (NYSE: PBH  ) , a marketer of over-the-counter health care and household cleaning products, jumped as much as 14% after it announced the acquisition of Australia’s Care Pharmaceuticals.

  • [By Eric Volkman]

    Prestige Brands (NYSE: PBH  ) is reaching to the other side of the world for its latest acquisition. The company announced that it has purchased the privately held Care Pharmaceuticals, based in New South Wales, Australia. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, although Prestige Brands did admit that it would be funded by monies drawn from an existing credit facility combined with cash on hand.

  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Calling all cash flows
    When you are trying to buy the market’s best stocks, it’s worth checking up on your companies’ free cash flow once a quarter or so, to see whether it bears any relationship to the net income in the headlines. That’s what we do with this series. Today, we’re checking in on Prestige Brands Holdings (NYSE: PBH  ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Castor believes the cash has disappeared into working capital, which has grown from 23% to more than 50% since 2008. Comparable company Prestige Brand (PBH) uses 11%; Unilever (UL) and Colgate-Palmolive (CL) far less.

Top Food Companies To Buy Right Now: Nestle SA (NSRGY.PK)

Nestle SA is a company engaged in the nutrition, health and wellness sectors. It is the holding company of the Nestle Group, which comprises subsidiaries, associated companies and joint ventures throughout the world. The Company has such business units as Food and Beverage, Nestle Waters and Nestle Nutrition. Nestle is also active in the pharmaceutical sector. It divides its products into nine categories: Prepared dishes and cooking aids, Beverages, Confectionery, Ice cream, Water, PetCare, Milk products, Nutrition and Pharma. It has numerous subsidiaries engaged in various areas of activity, including Alcon Ophthalmika GmbH (Austria), Alcon Bulgaria EOOD (Bulgaria) and Galderma Laboratorium GmbH (Germany) for pharmaceuticals; Novartis Nutrition GmbH (Austria) and Hjem-IS A/S (Denmark) for food and beverages, and Galderma International SAS (France) and Galderma Laboratorium GmbH (Germany) for health and beauty activities. The Company is headquartered in Vevey, Switzerland. In July 2008, Novartis AG acquired a 25% stake in Alcon, Inc. from Nestle SA. In March 2010, the Company acquired Kraft Foods Inc’ frozen pizza business.

In April 2008, L’Oreal and Nestle SA’s joint venture, Galderma Pharma S.A., announced that its United States holding company, Galderma Laboratories, Inc., had acquired approximately 97% interest in CollaGenex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. During the year ended December 31, 2004, Nestle had 500 factories in 83 countries around the world. In 2004, 15 factories were acquired or opened and 29 closed or divested.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Tim McAleenan Jr.]

    I do not mention these things to discourage you from international stocks. I have been purchasing BP (BP) between $39-$43, and I will eventually purchase Anheuser-Busch (BUD), Nestle (NSRGY.PK), Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.B), and two or three other international companies when the stars line up. My point is that you should not feel an obligation to own international stocks simply for diversification’s sake. If you find a good international stock with a business model you understand and it trades at an attractive price, then great. You should buy it. But owning international stocks does not have to be a necessary part of your strategy. Despite what Mankiw advises in the New York Times, you can build a diversified collection of "global stocks" simply by investigating where certain American multinationals generate the bulk of their sales and earnings.

  • [By Ong Kang Wei]

    And that, unmistakably, is a brand. Although the value of a brand is intangible and cannot be measured in dollars, it is one of the most valuable assets a company can have. This is what differentiates a product from Coca-Cola (KO), Kraft Foods Group (KRFT), Nestle (NSRGY.PK) or McDonald’s (MCD) from just another unknown manufacturer of these very much essential goods and services. In my eyes, brands are as good as a promise to consumers, which differentiates the product from the rest, and promises that the standard of that certain product will be much better than that of another manufacturer. Without this brand that people trust in and are loyal to, there will not be substantial profits and future growth for the company. Do you think Warren Buffett would have bought out Heinz (HNZ) without its world-famous brand name? Definitely not! It would be as good as just another ketchup brand left on the shelf.

Top Food Companies To Buy Right Now: Boulder Brands Inc (BDBD)

Boulder Brands, Inc., incorporated on May 31, 2005, is a supplier of gluten-free and health and wellness products in the United States and Canada. The Company distributes its products in all retail channels, including natural, grocery, club and mass merchandise. The Company also has a presence in the foodservice and industrial channels. The Company’s product portfolio consists of spreads, milk and other grocery products marketed under the Smart Balance, Earth Balance and Bestlife brands, and gluten-free products sold under the Udi’s, Glutino and Gluten-Free Pantry brands. The Company operates in two segments: Smart Balance and Natural. The Smart Balance segment consists of its branded products in spreads, butter, grocery and milk. The Natural segment consists of its Earth Balance, Glutino and Udi’s branded products. In December 2013, the Company announced that it has acquired 100% interests of Phil’s Fresh Foods, LLC, owner of EVOL Foods (EVOL).

Smart Balanc e Products

The Smart Balance line of products is available in a range of categories, formats and sizes in the supermarket, mass merchandise and convenience store channels of distribution. Some of the Company’s buttery spreads are also available in bulk and individual serving formats for use in the industrial and foodservice channels. The Company’s Smart Balance buttery spreads are made from a patented blend of natural oils to help balance fats in the consumer’s diet and to help improve the good-to-bad cholesterol ratio when used as part of the Smart Balance Food Plan. Smart Balance Spreadable Butters, available in original, light and extra virgin olive oil varieties, are a blend of creamery fresh butter and canola oil that contain less saturated fat than butter, as well as functional ingredients like EPA/DHA Omega-3 and plant sterols.

The Company offers a range of enhanced milk products, with different varieties containing EPA/DHA Omega-3s, plan t sterols, and added levels of calcium and protein. The Comp! any use low and fat-free milks enhanced with non-fat milk solids to give the taste and texture of whole or reduced fat milk. The Company’s milk varieties include fat-free milk, 1% lowfat milk and lactose-free milk and are available in markets across the United States. The Company’s peanut butter products contain ALA Omega-3 from flax oil. The Company’s cooking oil and cooking sprays are designed for use in cooking, baking and salads to aid in avoiding trans fat and hydrogenated oils. The Company also markets a Smart Balance Buttery Burst Spray. The spray has zero calories, zero carbs and zero fats per serving and can be used as a pan spray or as a topping.

The Company’s Smart Balance Light Mayonnaise Dressing has half the fat of regular mayonnaise, is non-hydrogenated, contains zero grams of trans fat and contains natural plant sterols and ALA Omega-3. The Company created the Smart Balance Food Plan, incorporating many of its Smart Balance products, in o rder to help consumers achieve a healthy balance of natural fats in their daily diet. The plan includes menus, as well as numerous recipes.

Natural

The Earth Balance line of products offers a range of buttery spreads, sticks, soymilks, nut butters and vegan mayo dressings formulated for consumers interested in natural, plant based and organic products. Glutino offers a range of shelf stable and frozen gluten-free products, including snack foods, frozen baked goods, frozen entrees and baking mixes, throughout the United States and Canada. Glutino also offers a range of fresh breads under the Genius brand name. Based in Denver, Colorado, Udi’s markets gluten-free products under the Udi’s Gluten Free Foods brand in the retail market. The Company owns and operates a health and wellness, subscripton-based Website at www.thebestlife.com, which is based on the philosophies of Bob Greene.

The Company competes with Unilever, ConAgra Foods, Dean Foods, Land O’ Lakes, Hain Celestial Group, Inc., Food for L! ife, Van’! s, Nature’s Path, Mary’s Gone Crackers, Enjoy Life, Pamela’s Gluten Free, Rudi’s Gluten-Free, French Meadow Bakery, Schar, Kinnikinnick, Amy’s Gluten Free, Snyder’s, Blue Diamond Gluten-Free, Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free and Food Should Taste Good.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Pendulum]

    Gluten-free products are the growth engine for Boulder Brands (BDBD). Certain consumers require gluten-free products for medical reasons, but Boulder Brands believes that the potential for gluten-free products is much wider. Bulls argue that the benefits of gluten-free foods extend to the broader population and consumers will gravitate toward gluten-free over time. Bears argue that only a small segment of the population really requires gluten-free food and the much hyped gluten-free diet (for the broader population) is a fad. In the near term, the company has the potential to benefit from new gluten-free labeling as well as broader distribution and an expanded product offering. With the company trading at a high valuation, after a nice rally, is the optimism about gluten-free already priced-in or is there more upside?

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Shares of Hain have gained 2.2% to $79.91 today at 11:13 a.m–and trumping other health-food stocks today.  Annie’s Homegrown (BNNY) has ticked up 0.4% to $49.61, Boulder Brands (BDBD) has risen 0.6% to $15.96 and Whitewave Foods (WWAV) has dropped 1.3% to  $18.93.

  • [By John Udovich]

    However and not helping the stock around that time was a very lengthy article by the Prescience Point Research Group on Seeking Alpha entitled: Fleetmatics Group PLC: Accounting Shenanigans Are Inflating Its Financials, While Insiders Sell Aggressively. Investors and shorts alike can read the article and make their own judgment, but some of the commenters have pointed out that similar attack articles from Prescience Point Research Group on stocks like the Active Network Inc (NYSE: ACTV) and Boulder Brands Inc (NASDAQ: BDBD) have backfired on the shorts. With that said, the article does highlight some of the risks investors face with the stock.