The consumer staples sector is comprised of companies that produce and sell items considered essential for everyday use. These include household goods, food, beverages, hygiene products, and other products 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 non-cyclical and able to maintain stable growth regardless of the state of the economy. The big names in the sector include Colgate-Palmolive Co. (CL), Procter & Gamble Co. (PG), and Walmart Inc. (WMT). Consumer staples stocks, as represented by the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLP), have outperformed the broader market with a total return of -5.7% compared to the S&P 500's total return of -13.5% over the past 12 months. These market performance numbers and the statistics in the tables below are as of March 24.

Here are the top 3 consumer staples stocks with the best value, the fastest earnings 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 12-Month Trailing P/E Ratio
Campbell Soup Co. (CPB) 42.93 13.0 9.0
Sysco Corp. (SYY) 36.27 18.4 10.4
Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN) 57.60 21.0 10.4

Source: YCharts

  • Campbell Soup Co.: Campbell Soup manufactures and markets food and beverage products, including Prego pasta sauces, Pace Mexican sauces, Kettle Brand potato chips, Emerald nuts, V8 juices, and more.
  • Sysco Corp.: Sysco markets and distributes a variety of food and related products primarily to the food service or food-away-from-home industry. Some of those products include a range of frozen foods, fresh produce, canned and dry foods, desserts, beverages, and non-food items such as napkins, tableware, cookware, and cleaning supplies. The company announced in January that Kevin Hourican, former Executive Vice President of CVS Health and President of CVS Pharmacy, would be replacing Tom Bené as the company's President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), beginning on February 1, 2020.
  • Tyson Foods Inc.: Tyson Foods produces, distributes, and markets chicken, beef, pork, and prepared foods. Some of its brands include Hillshire Farm, Sara Lee, and State Fair. The company reported revenue growth of 6.1% in the first quarter of its 2020 fiscal year (FY) compared to the same period a year ago, as net income grew 1.6%.

Fastest Growing Consumer Staples Stocks

These are the consumer staples stocks with the highest year-over-year (YOY) earnings per share (EPS) growth for the most recent quarter. Rising earnings show that a company’s business is growing and is generating more money that it can reinvest or return to shareholders.

Fastest Growing Consumer Staples Stocks

 

Price ($) Market Cap EPS Growth (%)
Newell Brands Inc. (NWL) 10.55 4.5 306.5
Coca-Cola Co. (KO) 37.56 161.3 135.0
Molson Coors Beverage Co. (TAP) 34.56 7.5 114.3

Source: YCharts

  • Newell Brands Inc.: Newell Brands is a retailer of consumer products, including housewares, home furnishings, office supplies, tools and hardware, and hair accessories. Some of the company's brands include Sharpie, Paper Mate, Elmer's, Coleman, and Rubbermaid.
  • Coca-Cola Co.: Coca-Cola is engaged in the manufacture and sale of nonalcoholic beverages, including soft drinks, water, enhanced water & sports drinks, juice, dairy and plant-based beverages, tea & coffee, and energy drinks. The company announced in December that Francisco Crespo would be retiring sometime in 2020 from his role as Chief Growth Officer. 
  • Molson Coors Beverage Co.: Molson Coors is a holding company that produces and sells beer. Some of its brands include Coors Light, Miller Lite, and Molson Canadian.

Consumer Staples Stocks with the Most Momentum

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

Consumer Staples Stocks with the Most Momentum

 

Price ($) Market Cap 12-Month Trailing Total Return (%)
The Kroger Co. (KR) 31.08 24.5 30.8
Target Corp. (TGT) 96.69 48.4 27.0
Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST) 285.53 126.1 21.3
S&P 500 (SPY) N/A N/A -13.5
Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLP) N/A N/A -5.7

Source: YCharts

  • The Kroger Co.: Kroger operates supermarkets, drug stores, multi-department stores, jewellery stores, and convenience stores. The company also engages in the manufacture and processing of some of the food it sells in its supermarkets.
  • Target Corp.: Target owns and operates general merchandise and food discount stores as well as a fully integrated online business. The company offers a wide assortment of general merchandise and food. Target reported revenue growth of 3.6% and adjusted diluted EPS growth of 18.4% for its full 2019 FY, which ended February 1, 2020.
  • Costco Wholesale Corp.: Costco operates membership warehouses in multiple countries. The company's merchandise includes food, beverages, cleaning supplies, appliances, health and beauty products, hardware, electronics, and pharmaceutical products. Costco recently announced that it has completed its $1-billion acquisition of Innovel Solutions, a provider of third-party end-to-end logistics solutions.