ConAgra Foods (CAG - Get Report)  reports fiscal third-quarter results before the open Thursday. This stock is a buy if you are looking for solid long-term dividend play in consumer staples.

For the quarter that ended February, the company is expected to earn 58 cents per share on revenue of $2.86 billion, compared to a year ago when the company earned 59 cents on revenue of $3.88 billion. For the year earnings are projected to be up 4% year over year to $2.27 per share, while revenue of $11.63 billion would mark a decline of 26.5% from the year-ago quarter.

Its notable brands include Chef Boyardee, Orville Redenbacher's and Peter Pan peanut butter. Its shares, at around $45, are up 7.4% for the year to date and 19.7% for the past 52 weeks. The company even pays a decent 25-cent quarterly dividend that yields 2.20% annually.

ConAgra, in the midst of a restructuring plan, has beaten Wall Street earnings estimates in the previous two quarters by an average of 8 cents per share -- even as management has worked to shore up its Consumer Food segment, which has suffered low volumes caused by the strong dollar devaluing its overseas sales.

Still, gross margins have risen by an average of 320 basis points in the past two quarters and an average of 244 basis points when adding fiscal fourth quarter of 2015 reported last June. With the sale of its private brands operations in the just-ended quarter, ConAgra will have more capital.

That's why ConAgra has been a solid pick for investors and will remain so for quite some time. The smart play here is to hold these shares and let that dividend pay you to wait for the company to execute its plans.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.