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Stocks in this article: HNZ DE HPQ TAP BG UNH MCK

H.J. Heinz

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Condiment king H.J. Heinz (HNZ) may be best-known for its ketchup, but the firm is actually one of the world's major packaged foods manufacturers, with brands that produce everything from soups to frozen foods in its product portfolio.

The company's 6.7% dividend increase brings its total payout to a quarterly 48 cents per share, a 3.58% yield at current prices. Heinz is one of the 20 top-yielding food and beverage stocks.

Heinz's ability to keep its sales strong in recent years has been telling. While rising input costs and cost competition from private label brands have squeezed competitors, Heinz has done a good job of resisting consumer attrition. That's thanks to exceptional consumer stickiness with its core products as well as comparatively large international exposure. With overseas markets contributing nearly two-thirds of annual sales, the company already has the infrastructure in place to tap growth markets when times are tough at home.

Historically, Heinz has remained vigilant about returning value to shareholders, paying out the majority of its earnings to its owners. While that's meant relatively high debt levels for the company, the added flexibility of discretionary dividends means that the company could divert its massive cash flows to a more pressing need were push to come to shove.

That said, it's unlikely this stock will see any sort of payout interruption. It remains a solid core dividend holding right now.

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