Dividend stocks can be an excellent tool for investors who want to put their money to work for the long term but still receive a short-term return. But finding the right dividend stocks can be challenging because there are so many to consider.
A great starting point can be to "invest in what you know" because you're more likely to understand the companies whose products you use, which can translate into better investment decisions.
Need some inspiration? The grocery store is something most people know well; we all need to eat! The brands lining your pantry and grocery store shelves are full of blue-chip dividend stocks that pay you to hold them. Here are five great companies to consider.
1. The Coca-Cola Company
Best-known for its soda, The Coca-Cola Company (KO -0.63%) also sells juices, water, coffee, and tea products under hundreds of brands worldwide. Its annual sales surpass $38 billion, and the company has paid and raised a dividend for the past 59 consecutive years! Currently, investors can get 2.7% back on their shares each year from the dividend.
It's also a famous holding of prominent investor Warren Buffett, who bought shares in the late 1980s and has held them ever since. Coca-Cola won't blow you away with high revenue growth. Still, management targets annual sales growth of 4% to 6% each year over the long term, plenty to continue steadily increasing its dividend.
2. Hormel Foods
Spam, the canned meat that's been around since the 1930s, is a food most Americans have likely tried at least once. Today, Hormel Foods (HRL 14.56%), the company that invented it, is a diversified food products company. Hormel sells a variety of turkey, pork, and meat products and specialty foods like guacamole, nut spreads, and lunch meat.
Hormel's business can be sensitive to commodity costs on raw ingredients like pork and turkey, but the company has grown steadily over time. Revenue has averaged more than 3% growth per year over the last decade while earnings per share (EPS) have grown an average of almost 7%. This translates to reliable dividend growth; Hormel has paid and raised its dividend for 55 consecutive years. The stock's dividend yield stands at 2% on the current share price.
3. General Mills
Cereal has been a staple among breakfast foods for decades. General Mills (GIS -0.19%) is behind popular brands like Cheerios, Chex, Lucky Charms, Wheaties, and more. It also owns Betty Crocker, Annie's, and Fiber One -- and it jumped into pet food by acquiring Blue Buffalo for $8 billion in 2018. The company's annual sales surpass $18 billion.
General Mills froze its dividend to help conserve cash for the acquisition, which put debt on its balance sheet. However, the dividend was raised in 2020 and still yields 2.8% at the current share price. Meanwhile, management is paying off debt, and investors could see dividend growth pick up as financials improve. The dividend payout ratio is just 50%, so the payout is likely safe.
Most major beverage brands that Coca-Cola doesn't own are probably owned by PepsiCo (PEP -0.26%), forming a potent one-two combo in the beverage world. However, PepsiCo has a substantial snacks business along with its beverage brands, including pantry favorites like Frito-Lay, Quaker, Doritos, and Ruffles.
Like its arch-rival Coca-Cola, PepsiCo is a hall of fame-level dividend stock, paying and raising its dividend for 49 years in a row. Like the other companies on this list, PepsiCo is a large and mature company that grows slowly. Its revenue growth has averaged 2% annually over the past 10 years, while EPS has averaged 3%. It won't take you from rags to riches, but the company's 2.5% dividend yield gives shareholders solid income.
Food and beverage conglomerate Nestlé (NSRGY -0.92%) isn't as known by many investors because it's a non-U.S. company based in Switzerland. However, there might not be a company with a larger footprint in U.S. supermarkets. Its hundreds of brands cover baby food, bottled water, coffee, nutrition, and pet care products. The company's revenue in 2021 was 87 billion Swiss francs, or $90.4 billion.
Nestlé's dividend is a little unconventional if you're a U.S. investor; you would own ADR (American Deposit Receipt) shares, which represent the stock of a non-U.S. company. Investors will receive their dividends in U.S. dollars, which could fluctuate based on currency rates. Additionally, Nestlé pays its dividend once annually, which is less frequent than most American companies that pay quarterly. However, Nestlé has paid a dividend since the 1950s, making it a reliable income tool for investors.