The consumer staples sector is composed of companies that produce and sell items considered essential for everyday use. Consumer staples products include household goods, food, beverages, hygiene products, and other items that individuals are either unwilling or unable to eliminate from their budgets even in times of financial trouble. As a result, these companies are viewed as noncyclical and able to maintain stable growth regardless of the state of the economy. Some of the big names in the sector include Procter & Gamble Co. (PG), Coca-Cola Co. (KO), and General Mills Inc. (GIS).

Consumer staples stocks, as represented by the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLP), have underperformed the broader market over the past year. XLP has provided investors with a total return of 14.0% over the past 12 months, well below the Russell 1000's total return of 35.2%. These market performance numbers and all statistics in the tables below are as of Sept. 17, 2021.

Here are the top three consumer staples stocks with the best value, the fastest growth, and the most momentum.

Best Value Consumer Staples Stocks

These are the consumer staples stocks with the lowest 12-month trailing price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio. Because profits can be returned to shareholders in the form of dividends and buybacks, a low P/E ratio shows you’re paying less for each dollar of profit generated.

Best Value Consumer Staples Stocks
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) 12-Month Trailing P/E Ratio
Bunge Ltd. (BG) 80.58 11.4 6.0
Herbalife Nutrition Ltd. (HLF) 44.39 5.1 10.4
Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN) 75.81 27.7 11.6

Source: YCharts

  • Bunge Ltd.: Bunge is a global agribusiness and food company. It supplies and transports agricultural commodities, including sugar ethanol, wheat, and corn. The company also processes oilseeds and grains and sells fertilizers. In August, Bunge announced a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.525 per common share, payable on Dec. 2 to shareholders of record as of Nov. 18, 2021. The company also announced a dividend on its 4.875% cumulative convertible perpetual preference shares.
  • Herbalife Nutrition Ltd.: Herbalife Nutrition is a global nutrition company. It offers weight management products and healthy meals and snacks, as well sports and fitness, energy, and other targeted nutritional products. It also sells personal care products.
  • Tyson Foods Inc.: Tyson Foods produces, distributes, and markets chicken, beef, pork, and prepared foods. Its brands include Hillshire Farm, Sara Lee, and State Fair. In an early September press briefing, director of the National Economic Council and White House economic advisor Brian Deese said that consolidation in the meat processing industry raised concerns about "pandemic profiteering" and "significant increases in prices." Tyson responded in a press release by "categorically [rejecting] the conclusions" of the briefing, saying that the increase in the price of beef in particular was due to "unprecedented market conditions."

Fastest-Growing Consumer Staples Stocks

These are the top consumer staples stocks as ranked by a growth model that scores companies based on a 50/50 weighting of their most recent quarterly year-over-year (YOY) percentage revenue growth and their most recent quarterly YOY earnings-per-share (EPS) growth. Both sales and earnings are critical factors in the success of a company. Therefore, ranking companies by only one growth metric makes a ranking susceptible to the accounting anomalies of that quarter (such as changes in tax law or restructuring costs) that may make one or the other figure unrepresentative of the business in general. Companies with quarterly EPS or revenue growth of over 2,500% were excluded as outliers.

Fastest-Growing Consumer Staples Stocks
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) EPS Growth (%) Revenue Growth (%)
The Hain Celestial Group Inc. (HAIN) 39.03 3.8 900.0 -11.9
Bunge Ltd. (BG) 80.58 11.4 -31.7 62.7
Darling Ingredients Inc. (DAR) 75.46 12.2 200.0 41.2

Source: YCharts

  • The Hain Celestial Group Inc.: The Hain Celestial Group is a maker of natural and organic beverages, snacks, specialty foods, and personal care products. The company sells grocery items including cookies, oils, snacks, and frozen foods, as well as organic body, skin, and hair products. For its Q4 FY 2021, ended June 30, 2021, the company reported a sharp increase in both net income and operating income despite a 4% decline in net sales YOY. Net sales declined the most in the company's North American business as compared to its International business over this period. Strong operating income in its International segment helped to drive growth.
  • Darling Ingredients Inc.: Darling Ingredients develops and produces sustainable natural ingredients from both edible and inedible bio-nutrients. Its products are used in the pharmaceutical, food, pet food, fuel, bioenergy, fertilizer, and other industries. For Q2 2021, ended July 3, Darling reported that net income tripled YOY on net sales growth of 41.2%. The company attributed the increases to the strengthening global economic recovery.
  • Bunge Ltd.: See above for company description.

Consumer Staples Stocks With the Most Momentum

These are the consumer staples stocks that had the highest total return over the past 12 months.

Consumer Staples Stocks With the Most Momentum
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) 12-Month Trailing Total Return (%)
Coty Inc. (COTY) 8.35 6.4 159.3
Albertsons Companies Inc. (ACI) 30.10 14.0 131.2
Darling Ingredients Inc. (DAR) 75.46 12.2 114.7
Russell 1000 N/A N/A 35.2
Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLP) N/A N/A 14.0

Source: YCharts

  • Coty Inc.: Coty is a maker and distributor of beauty products. The company's products include color cosmetics, hygiene products, fragrances, sun care products, and skin treatments. Coty products are sold in department stores, retailers, and airport duty-free shops around the world. For its Q4 2021, ended June 30, Coty reported narrowing net losses on 89.6% YOY net revenue growth. Revenue growth was driven by strong performances in the U.S., Brazil, Canada and the Asia Pacific region.
  • Albertsons Companies Inc.: Albertsons Companies is a grocery store company that operates food and drug retail stores. It offers groceries, general merchandise, health and beauty care products, pharmacy, fuel, and other items and services.
  • Darling Ingredients Inc.: See above for company description.

The comments, opinions, and analyses expressed herein are for informational purposes only and should not be considered individual investment advice or recommendations to invest in any security or to adopt any investment strategy. Though we believe the information provided herein is reliable, we do not warrant its accuracy or completeness. The views and strategies described in our content may not be suitable for all investors. Because market and economic conditions are subject to rapid change, all comments, opinions, and analyses contained within our content are rendered as of the date of the posting and may change without notice. The material is not intended as a complete analysis of every material fact regarding any country, region, market, industry, investment, or strategy.