Should Investors Catch a Ride on WhiteWave Foods?

The growing trend of organic food production is also being propelled by key players in this sector like WhiteWave Foods, (NYSE: WWAV) United Natural Foods (NASDAQ: UNFI  ) and Inventure Foods (NASDAQ: SNAK  ) . So consumers and investors with an eye on healthier foods should consider these organic food producers.

 Is the surf still up at WhiteWave?
WhiteWave Foods (NYSE: WWAV) is an organic food producer known for brands like Pure Almond Almondmilk and International Delight CoffeeHouse Inspirations. As consumers seek healthier milk products, the market for almond milk, soy milk, and other plant-based milk products is growing. On top of this, WhiteWave is also diversifying with more organic brands while expanding internationally.

WhiteWave's share price spiked shortly after it announced first-quarter results in May, and is up more than 35% year-to-date. While its share price currently hovers at $31, close to its 52-week high, the analyst consensus still rates WhiteWave a buy.

Furthermore, the company booked EPS growth of more than 23% last year and this could continue this year if it maintains its momentum. Moreover, WhiteWave Foods' first-quarter adjusted earnings per share came in at $0.22 -- a 40% year over year climb built on sales increasing for all of its brands by 36% to $830 million.

A key contribution to its sales growth -- $146 million -- came from its Earthbound Farms unit. The company bought this organic greens and produce brand in January 2014 and it will continue to fuel sales growth as WhiteWave diversifies.

"The strength of our results reflects impressive organic growth across our historical businesses, plus the strategic addition of Earthbound Farm to our portfolio," said Gregg Engles, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

In January, the company also announced a joint venture with China's Mengniu Dairy Company to manufacture and distribute almond and soy-based milk products in China. The new venture is expected to start production later this year according to Mr. Engles.

Looking ahead, WhiteWave anticipates net sales growth in the "low thirties percent range for both the full year and the second quarter of 2014," according to company management. With the addition of Earthbound Farms and the strategic alliance with Mengiu Dairy, the company will be able to diversify into more brands and will also be positioned to grow internationally.

Why this matters to United Natural Foods
United offers a variety of natural and organic food and beverages which differs from that of WhiteWave, ranging from sports drinks to nuts. Furthermore, the company recently announced that it has agreed to acquire all the stock of Tony's Fine Foods, a specialty distributor of fresh organic foods.

United expects the transaction to close late in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014. United's management believes the acquisition will strengthen its position and grow its market share in the US and Canada. 

Moreover, in its latest earnings report for the third quarter United reported increased sales, revenue, and earnings growth and this has been the case for the past two years. The company's earnings per share were up by 21.7% compared to the year-ago period. For the rest of fiscal 2014, the company anticipates diluted EPS of $0.247-$2.50 per share which is an increase of more than 13% from fiscal 2013.

Inventure Foods is focused on frozen foods and snacks
Inventure produces and markets a number of brand name products like Boulder Canyon Natural Foods, Seattle's Best Coffee, and Vidalia Brands.

The company has two main lines, frozen foods and snacks. Frozen fruits, vegetables, and beverages comprise its frozen foods. Its snack unit includes potato chips, kettle chips, and sheeted dough products that it sells to snack food distributors and retailers.

Inventure last reported that its net revenue for fiscal 2013 was the highest in the company's history and management called for earnings-per-share growth of 43.4% in 2014.

Most recently, Inventure launched Rader Farms Fruit PLUS Vitamins -- fortified whole frozen fruit products. The company believes this product is unique to the frozen aisle since it "builds on naturally occurring vitamins found within whole strawberries, blueberries and blackberries and boosts the nutrition level."

"It's a product that may revolutionize homemade smoothies and fresh fruit snacking, and we're excited to introduce it to consumers this summer," said Dan Hammer, senior vice president and general manager of the frozen division at Inventure.

The bottom line
Consumers will continue to demand healthier foods, beverages, and snacks. And WhiteWave, United Foods, and Inventure are poised to grow as this trend toward healthier eating continues. While Inventure is the least expensive of the three, investors should mark their calendars for July 28 when the company has scheduled its earnings announcement.

As we have seen with Whole Foods Market, however, the success of these organic food producers will ultimately mean more competition. So in order to keep growing earnings, gain market share, and ensure share price growth, each of these companies is diversifying its brands.

In my view, WhiteWave is in the best position with the acquisition of Earth Bound and is poised to grow in the global village because of its strategic alliance with China's Megniu Dairy. And investors who have a long-term view should hang ten, in surfing lingo, with WhiteWave.

Leaked: Apple's next smart device (warning, it may shock you)
Apple recently recruited a secret-development "dream team" to guarantee its newest smart device was kept hidden from the public for as long as possible. But the secret is out, and some early viewers are claiming its everyday impact could trump the iPod, iPhone, and the iPad. In fact, ABI Research predicts 485 million of this type of device will be sold per year. But one small company makes Apple's gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early in-the-know investors. To be one of them, and see Apple's newest smart gizmo, just click here!


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 3030677, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 12/20/2014 4:14:42 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Apple's next smart device (warning, it may shock you

Apple recently recruited a secret-development "dream team" to guarantee its newest smart device was kept hidden from the public for as long as possible. But the secret is out. In fact, ABI Research predicts 485 million of this type of device will be sold per year. But one small company makes Apple's gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early-in-the-know investors. To be one of them, and see Apple's newest smart gizmo, just click here!


Advertisement