H.J. Heinz (HNZ)
Company Description: Makes ketchup, condiments and sauces, as well as a number of other food products. Brands include Heinz, Smart Ones and Classico pasta sauce.Dividend Yield: 3.7% Stock Price Performance Year-to-Date/12 Months: -4% / 9% Heinz has a very long history of paying a dividend, which is no surprise given its steady cash flow that has grown at an outsized pace in the last couple years. (Also, growth has been faster than sales.) With a five-year growth rate of 7%, this is a safe dividend play.
Darden Restaurants (DRI) Company Description: Operates the Red Lobster, Olive Garden and Long Horn Steakhouse eateries. Dividend Yield: 3.75% Stock Price Performance Year-to-Date/12 Months: 3% / 4% Recently sales at the Olive Garden chain have languished as the company wasn't able to pass raw-material cost increases on to the customer. Despite this headwind, performance at the other brands, which make up over 50% of revenue, has been solid, and management has reiterated its commitment to cutting costs. Darden's dividend increased 30% over the past year and has a five-year growth rate of 33%. While growth of the dividend may slow in the near term, the sustainability is solid.
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