September 8, 2020
You brace for a bit of a chill as you head down this supermarket aisle. Rows of refrigerators hum softly as you scan the frozen foods section for quick and convenient meals for your household. Though people have been preserving food through freezing for thousands of years, Clarence Birdseye is credited for being the founding father of the frozen foods industry when he innovated the process for flash-freezing, packaging and transporting meats, fish and vegetables.
Birdseye’s inventions nearly a century ago created an industry that raked in $291.8 billion in 2019, according to Allied Market Research, a market research and advisory company. As we continue our series on the supermarket brands you can own, let’s shop the frozen foods aisle. With everything from bagels to broccoli, peas to pizza and complete meals that run the gamut of cuisines, millions of consumers rely on frozen foods to feed their families – which is great news for these publicly traded companies.
Conagra Brands Inc. (Tii:CAG)
Through its $8.1 billion acquisition of Pinnacle Foods Inc. in October 2018, Conagra Brands became one of the largest players in the frozen foods section. If you have enjoyed Banquet frozen chicken and ready-to-heat meals, Birds Eye vegetables, Celeste pizza, Hungry-Man or Swanson frozen TV dinners, Lender's Bagels, or Mrs. Paul's and Van de Kamp's frozen seafood, you have purchased a Conagra brand. The good news for dividend investors thinking about owning the brand they love: Conagra pays a quarterly dividend of $0.2125 per share.
J&J Snack Foods (Tii:JJSF)
Not many companies can boast nearly 50 straight years of sales growth. But the company behind Luigi’s Real Italian Ice, the Whole Fruit line of fruit Bars and sorbets, Minute Maid Juice Bars and Soft Frozen Lemonade, Sour Patch Ice Pops, ICEE, Slush Puppie and Parrot-ice fruit smoothies has experienced steady sales growth for 48 years. In addition to a robust line of frozen juices and sweets, the company has an offering to entice pet owners – Dogsters, a line of frozen treats for the pup. Another dividend play, J&J offers quarterly dividends of $0.575 per share of its common stock.
General Mills Inc. (Tii:GIS)
A giant in this space (pun intended as the company owns the Green Giant brand), General Mills has several lines of products in your grocer’s freezer. Among them is the super-premium ice cream brand, Häagen-Dazs, which offers nearly every flavor under the sun, including a line of whiskey and bourbon-infused flavors. If you want to really make a night of it, consider the company’s Totino’s Party Pizza and Jeno’s Crisp ’n Tasty Pizza brands of frozen products. General Mills also offers four brands of yogurt, led by its Yoplait brand. Like many in this space, its shares pay quarterly dividends ($0.49) and General Mills boasts 119 years of uninterrupted payments.
Kraft Heinz Co. (Tii:KHC)
As one of the largest food companies in North America with net sales of approximately $25 billion, it’s no surprise that Kraft Heinz is also well represented in the frozen foods aisle. The company’s offerings in this aisle include Ore-Ida Bagel Bites, onion rings and a host of potato-based foods. Complete meals from Kraft Heinz are also in the supermarket freezer by way of its Smart Ones, SmartMade and Indulgence lines of frozen meals. Making this company more delectable, shareholders are entitled to a $0.40 quarterly dividend.
The J.M. Smucker Company (Tii:SJM)
Not to be overlooked is Smucker's, who has a presence in this aisle as well. Best known for its line of jellies, jams, peanut butter and other condiments, the company offers Uncrustables, a line of about a dozen frozen grab-and-go sandwiches for families on the move. Through this brand, Smucker’s offers several variations of the traditional peanut butter and jelly as well as ham and cheddar options. The business has been so strong that in July, the company’s board approved an increase in the quarterly dividend from $0.88 to $0.90 per common share.
With the condiments, household cleansers and frozen foods out of the way, check back as we continue our shopping and present more opportunities to own the brands you love.