Even if you're a believer in long-term investing, it can be a challenge to find suitable investment candidates to own over years or even decades. The economic landscape has been drastically altered by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it also faced an upheaval more than 10 years ago due to the global financial crisis. With business cycles shortening and competition getting tougher, it's no wonder many companies find it harder to report consistent growth.

There is, however, a crop of companies that have defied the odds to post multi-year growth despite the economic headwinds. These businesses all have something in common: Strong franchises that place them as the leader in their field, an enduring brand, and a track record of achieving growth despite adversity. These are the types of businesses that you can feel comfortable owning for a lifetime as they have proven that they can, time and again, deliver results.

Here are three ideal stock candidates that you can buy and hold over the next decade.

Man and woman making contactless payment on a payment terminal

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Mastercard

When it comes to debit and credit card payments, Mastercard (MA 0.78%) qualifies as one of the market leaders in its field. The payments technology company has an impressive 2.8 billion cards in circulation worldwide and has remained resilient despite the pandemic wreaking havoc on consumer spending. The company's net revenue returned to growth again, posting a year-over-year rise of 4% to $4.2 billion for the first quarter of fiscal 2021.

The operational numbers look healthy as well. Total transaction volume rose 9% year over year to 23.8 billion while gross dollar volume for the quarter saw an 8% year-over-year rise to $1.7 trillion. Because of the improved volumes, net income climbed 8% year over year to $1.8 billion. Total transactions for the month to date ended April 21 surged 58% year over year as more countries recovered from the worst effects of the pandemic. Even if we compare it to the pre-pandemic year of 2019, the periods from January through March saw an average 22% year-over-year rise in transaction volume.

The evidence should be clear to investors: Mastercard has once again recovered from an acute crisis to post stronger numbers after shaking off the effects of one of the worst crises in the last century. Not content to stay still, the company acquired Ekata back in April for $850 million to boost its payment security layer. Ekata can tap its vast data pool to deliver real-time insights that can segregate good and bad customers during account opening and other digital interactions.

Basically, Mastercard continues to do what it takes to maintain its high level of performance.

2. Tractor Supply Company

Tractor Supply Company (TSCO 3.32%) is the largest rural lifestyle retailer in the U.S., operating more than 1,900 stores in 49 states. The pandemic has had a surprising effect on people's behavior, causing them to focus more on the care of their homes, farms, and pets as movement restrictions made it difficult for people to socialize. The company had already reported record sales and earnings last year, and the momentum has continued into the first quarter of 2021. Tractor Supply Company reported a 42.5% year-over-year jump in net sales along with a 38.6% year-over-year increase in comparable-store sales.

The company added 2.5 million new customers during the quarter, while its loyalty program, Neighbor's Club, chalked up more than 20 million members. CEO Hal Lawton said he believes structural shifts in the way people behave mean that this cohort of customers is here to stay. Millennials, in particular, have formed a larger proportion of customers over the last 12 months many bought homes and started families amid the pandemic. Another trend that is likely to endure is the increase in the proportion of households that own pets. Around three-quarters of the company's customers own pets, and surveys indicate that a quarter had recently acquired a new pet. Pets are ideal for repeat purchases as the company can sell a host of products and services to pet owners.

Tractor Supply Company is working on two major fronts to grow and attract more customers. One is a revamp of its Neighbor's Club rewards program with the introduction of points and three distinct tiers. New rewards and benefits will be tailored to each tier and will scale up as the member spends more. The other initiative is an advancement of the company's "Life Out Here" strategy, with changes to the store layout to improve accessibility and visibility.

When you add in the fact that e-commerce is becoming a more important element in the company's operations, it's clear that the company has several pathways available to help it sustain growth in the years to come.

3. Monster Beverage

When it comes to energy drinks, one of the first names you think of is probably Monster Beverage (MNST 2.29%). Its core Monster brand is sold in 140 countries while its other strategic brands such as Reign Total Body Fuel and Predator are sold in 73 countries. Despite the pandemic, the company has reported a rise in net sales for the first quarter of 2021, up 17.1% year over year to $1.24 billion. Net income climbed 13% year over year to $315.2 million. 

Monster did report that it was experiencing shortages in aluminum cans due to supply chain issues associated with COVID-19 and that this may impact sales in future quarters. However, it does not expect to face significant manufacturing uncertainty concerning the production of its products long-term. CEO Rodney Sacks has detailed plans on how the company plans to continue growing, with most of these initiatives deal with new or refreshed products. Additional new products are planned for launch later in 2021, such as the introduction of a new line of energy drinks under the True North brand. The drink is unique in that it contains an organic plant-based blend, catering to customers who are looking for more natural ingredients.

Additional products are slated for launch in domestic and international markets later in the year. The plan includes the geographic extension of certain brands and product lines into new territories. Monster's ability to innovate and come up with new products and product line variations is what allows the company to constantly stay ahead of its competition.

Monster continues to build its brand by sponsoring sporting events such as MotoGP 2020 and UFC. With an entrenched brand position and a 32.8% market share in the energy drinks category as of last year, Monster looks set to continue posting strong growth ahead.