This column was originally published on RealMoney on March 22 at 1:31 p.m. EDT. It's being republished as a bonus for TheStreet.com readers. For more information about subscribing to RealMoney, please click here.
Sometimes you have to get hit over the head to get the story right. I
have been adamant in these cyberpages that
day had come, that the growth engine that is Frito-Lay was going to hit a wall because of health concerns and soon join the slowing ranks of North American carbonated beverages, which failed to grow at all last quarter.
Management at Frito-Lay and Pepsi decided that I had to be schooled, and thought that perhaps if I spent time with them I could better understand where Frito-Lay was going.
So I traveled to Aberdeen, Md., via the company jet -- don't worry, I'm paying for it -- and spent the morning at the company's plant there, where Frito-Lay is revolutionizing snack food. It is producing popular, good gross-margined foods without trans fats, made simply with corn and salt or multigrains and sunflower oil. They're selling more than they can make, even though they are running the plants six and a half days a week.
I have long "used" Pepsi as my single-best consistent growth stock, but I had grown concerned that I was going to get walloped one quarter in the future with a less than 5% growth number from this, the division that drives the stock other than international beverage.
I know now, from this field trip and from meeting with the top-level execs last night and today from Frito-Lay, that I was just dead wrong. I believe that much of the Street is dead wrong about Pepsi, too.
This is the one to own. The upgrades and swap-outs of Pepsi to
that I saw after the big food conference last month -- based on a small acceleration of international carbonated beverage sales at Coke -- I believe will cause you to underperform.
Pepsi, not Coke, is it.
Expect more on what I saw and heard with Pepsi, the great marketing machine, about energy conservation, food trends and baby boomers vs. youth, later this week.
At the time of publication, Cramer had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this post.
Jim Cramer is a director and co-founder of TheStreet.com. He contributes daily market commentary for TheStreet.com's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. Outside contributing columnists for TheStreet.com and RealMoney.com, including Cramer, may, from time to time, write about stocks in which they have a position. In such cases, appropriate disclosure is made. To see his personal portfolio and find out what trades Cramer will make before he makes them, sign up for
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