What:  Shares of The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAIN) were looking healthy last month as the stock bounced back on an impressive third-quarter earnings report. The natural-food maker finished up 18% for the month of May, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

HAIN Chart

HAIN data by YCharts.

So what: Like other natural foods companies including Whole Foods Market, Hain Celestial stock had floundered in recent quarters, but the stock rebounded thanks to strong top-line growth in the recent period. The parent of Celestial Seasoning teas said revenue in the third-quarter jumped 13% (15% in constant currency) to $749.9 million, easily beating the analyst consensus at $733.6 million and marking a recovery from the previous two quarters when revenue growth was under 10%. Earnings per share, meanwhile, was in line with estimates at $0.49. 

Importantly, the company returned to growth in the U.S. and Hain Pure Protein was particularly strong.

Now what: While Hain's recovery is encouraging, the company's strongest growth years may be behind it. The wave of mainstream organic products seems to have sunk traditional organic companies like Hain, Whole Foods, and United Natural Foods, and Hain shares are still down more than 25% from a year ago. International growth and products like Pure Protein remain strong, and a management promise to cut $100 million in expenses should drive profits. With more modest growth expectations, Hain shares are unlikely to nosedive again, but the strong growth we saw after the recession is not going to be repeated.


John Mackey, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Jeremy Bowman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Hain Celestial and Whole Foods Market. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.