Choosy investors should want it all: growth, value, capital discipline, and a commitment to rewarding loyal shareholders. This might sound like too much to ask, but Kroger (KR -0.44%) delivers not only fresh produce but also data points that make the stock a must-own.

Even with all that, Kroger stock is currently trading far below its 52-week high. This window of opportunity could close in the near future, so enterprising investors can add some Kroger shares to their holdings before the market comes to its senses.

The usual suspects

In reporting the company's results for 2022's first quarter (which ended May 21), Kroger cited the same challenges that market watchers have undoubtedly heard many times this year: supply chain issues and inflation driven by elevated fuel costs. Even as Kroger broaches the usual suspects, though, there's never a sense that the company is using them as excuses for subpar performance.

CFO Gary Millerchip pointed out during Kroger's Q1 conference call that fuel cost $4 per gallon during the quarter versus $2.79 in the year-earlier period. Nevertheless, Kroger managed to increase its adjusted earnings per share (EPS) 22% year over year to $1.45 -- analysts were only expecting $1.25 -- while maintaining its gross margin at 21.6% of sales.

Looking ahead, Kroger raised its guidance for full-year 2022 adjusted EPS to a range of $3.85 to $3.95, and its identical sales without fuel to a range of 2.5% to 3.5%. Yet, despite the company's optimism, Kroger's trailing-12-month price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio is quite reasonable at 16.66 -- but don't count on it staying there if Kroger continues to demonstrate growth.

Generous yet disciplined

Is it possible to reward loyal shareholders handsomely while keeping capital expenditures in check? Kroger is managing to thread this needle to the benefit of all stakeholders.

Kroger's board just raised the company's annual dividend by 24%, from $0.84 to $1.04. Impressively, Kroger can boast 16 consecutive years of dividend increases, and the company's quarterly dividend has maintained a 14% compound annual growth rate since 2006. Moreover, there's no begrudging the confidence of Kroger Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen, who said he feels that his company is "well positioned to deliver total shareholder returns of 8% to 11% over time."

Perhaps what emboldens McMullen to be so confident, besides Kroger's EPS growth, is the company's capital discipline. Millerchip pointed out that in 2022, Kroger is on track to deliver $1 billion of cost savings for the fifth consecutive year. And in the face of inflation and supply chain issues, Kroger reduced its operating, general, and administrative expenses by 6% in Q1 2022 to roughly $7 billion.

Given the company's solid fiscal foundation and drive to deliver value and yield, it's hard to imagine any portfolio not benefiting from a moderately sized position in Kroger stock. And if you're already invested, feel free to add more shares to your shopping cart before the price gets a well-deserved markup.