MILLBURN, N.J. (Stockpickr) -- With obesity, diabetes and heart disease on the rise in the U.S., consumers are getting the message, seeking out healthier foods and diet supplements.
The companies that stand to benefit range from food producers and processors to supermarkets to specialty retail and weight-management programs.
With that in mind, here are five stocks that will keep you fit and your investment account healthy.
Whole FoodsWhole Foods (WFM) might not be one of the largest supermarkets in the nation, but it is amongst the fastest-growing. The company is also the largest publically owned chain that exclusively sells natural and organic groceries and fresh food. The company has locations in 39 states and the District of Columbia. Whole Foods operates 310 stores and 10 distribution centers in the U.S., Canada and United Kingdom. Sixty-seven of the company's stores are concentrated in California, and only 15 reside outside the U.S. >>5 Stock Trades for a Confusing Market For comparison's sake, grocery chain Kroger (KR) has about 2,400 stores, and Safewy has about 1,700, but those chains can't compare to Whole Foods in terms of quality. Other high-end and natural/organic supermarkets include Trader Joe's, with about 350 stores in 31 states, and The Fresh Market (TFM), with 115 stores concentrated in 21 states. As you can see, there is ample opportunity for Whole Foods to grow. Check out its past and projected sales and earnings growth: Should the company begin to ramp up expansion, and I believe that it will come 2013 and 2014, then Whole Foods would be the stock to own for the next decade. The Fresh Market The Fresh Market (TFM) is a smaller competitor to Whole Foods in the organic and natural foods business, and in that respect, the company also makes a compelling investment. But TFM's estimated growth rates -- 17% for sales in the current year and 18% in the following year, and 21% for EPS in the current year and 25% in the following year -- could make it an even more compelling investment. There is another factor worth considering. Several years ago, in 2007, Whole Foods purchased a smaller competitor, Wild Oats Markets, for $700 million. The market capitalization of The Fresh Market is $2.5 billion. While I am not saying that Whole Foods would acquire The Fresh Markets, it is quite conceivable that one of the larger domestic national supermarket chains or an international chain seeking to get into the organic and natural food retail business could.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
24/7 market commentary from Jim Cramer and 20+ veteran Wall Street gurus. Get access to the latest trading ideas on stocks, options, and ETFs as well as a real-time forum to see the pros exchanging their investment ideas.
- Jim Cramer + 20 Wall Street pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Real-time trading forum
- Actionable trade ideas
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV