Few companies on the planet can claim anything approaching Coca-Cola's (NYSE:KO) business strength. The beverage titan sells 2 billion servings across over 500 brands each year. It has been profiting from those sales since the late 1800s while paying investors a steadily growing dividend for the last 58 years.
Coke isn't immune to challenges, though, as its struggles in 2020 demonstrated. While you're unlikely to find a much bigger payout than its over 3% annual yield, there are more attractive, quickly growing dividends to choose from. So let's look at a few income investments that offer quicker sales and dividend growth without sacrificing too much yield.
Procter & Gamble is winning market share
A Procter & Gamble investment comes with market share performance that Coca-Cola can't match. The consumer staples giant in late January announced an 8% organic sales boost that continued its long streak of wins against peers like Kimberly Clark. Coca-Cola, on the other hand, endured falling beverage volume in 2020 even as PepsiCo (NASDAQ:PEP) boosted its sales.
P&G won't announce its annual dividend raise until April, but that boost should be significant given its booming earnings and cash flow in recent quarters. Profits are rising at a double-digit pace today while Coke's have been falling. That means investors could relatively quickly earn more from holding P&G stock over time even though its current yield is roughly a full percentage point lower than Coke's.
Target's earnings are jumping
Target stock's yield is much smaller than Coke's today, but don't let that single metric keep you away from this attractive business. The retailer enjoyed a record 2020 as shoppers picked its stores and online selling channels as the go-to spots to buy everything from essentials to home furnishings. That annual result included a 17% spike over the holiday season that occurred despite the chain's efforts to keep in-person traffic low during the pandemic.
Target is also enjoying a profitability surge that could push returns higher for several more years. The e-commerce segment is getting more efficient, and shoppers are happily paying more for the convenience of ultra-fast fulfilment options like same-day delivery. Coke's margin outlook is muted for 2021, on the other hand, and will mostly be supported by cost cuts in a weak industry.
McCormick's portfolio is more diverse
Parts of McCormick's business took a hit in 2020, but its more-diverse offering allowed it to outperform Coke. Sales rose 5% for the year, compared to Coke's 11% drop.
And while Coke is busy trimming its product holdings to support its best brands, McCormick has room to bulk up its portfolio without losing its focus. It added high-margin sauces and condiments to its holdings in the last few years, which fit right in with its core spice and flavorings franchises. These additions helped cash flow jump 10% in 2020. Management passed those gains right along to shareholders, announcing in late January a 10% increase to the dividend payment.
Coke's focused business makes it likely it will enjoy a sharp operating rebound once consumer mobility returns to normal, beginning this year. This strong company isn't nearly done setting global sales and profit records. But income investors might still prefer some of the unique advantages they can get by holding dividend masters like McCormick, Target, and Procter & Gamble.