Dividends tell a story if you are willing to listen. And one of the most important tales that investors can gather from dividends is consistency, which is indicated by long histories of annual dividend increases. And that is exactly what you'll find today from consumer staples stocks like Procter & Gamble (PG 0.65%), Coca-Cola (KO 0.78%), and Hormel Foods (HRL 0.68%) -- all names that you'll find in your local grocery store.

1. A broad array of products

Procter & Gamble is probably the most diversified name on this list, offering consumer staples from deodorant to paper towels. These are things people buy on a regular basis, with the company's focus generally on the higher end of the categories it serves. It has a long history of using innovation to justify prices above what its peers can charge. Adding to its attractiveness as an investment is its massive scale, including a huge $330 billion market capitalization. It has an incredible distribution network and the resources to invest in its products (the aforementioned innovation driven by research and development) and aggressively advertise them.

This backdrop has allowed Procter & Gamble to increase its dividend annually for 66 consecutive years, making it a Dividend King. The yield today is around 2.6%. While that's not an incredible number on an absolute basis, it is a full percentage point above the 1.6% on offer from an S&P 500 index exchange-traded fund today. And while some investors might be worried about the impact inflation will have on Procter & Gamble's profit margins, history suggests it will be able to pass through price increases over time. 

If you are looking for a company that knows how to survive through the inevitable economic highs and lows, while rewarding you with reliable dividends, Procter & Gamble needs to be on your short list.

2. Flavored water

Coca-Cola offers a more enticing yield of around 2.8% or so. And while nothing the company sells is really a necessity, consumers still keep buying its iconic drink brands. That's what's allowed Coca-Cola to increase its dividend annually for six decades and counting. It helps, of course, that Coke is a household name in countries around the world.

What's most exciting about Coca-Cola, though, is how simple its business model really is. The company essentially makes flavorings that go in water, often with a little carbonation. Its profit margins, as you might expect, are pretty robust. To put a number on that, Coca-Cola's gross profit margin is 10 percentage points higher than that of Procter & Gamble and 40 percentage points higher than Hormel (which is discussed below). That doesn't make the other two companies bad investment choices, but it does speak to Coca-Cola's ability to weather rising costs. Simply put, it has the leeway to absorb near-term hits as it works to adjust and restore its profit margins via price hikes and cost-cutting efforts. 

The stock isn't cheap today, but Coca-Cola is hard to beat for a long-term investor looking for dividend reliability.

3. Low and high at the same time

The last name here is food maker Hormel. At around 2.2%, the yield here is the lowest on this short list. And yet it is, from a value perspective, the most attractive option since that yield level is toward the high end of the company's historical yield range. Interestingly enough, the dividend has also been increased at a rapid clip, with an annualized growth rate of more than 10% over the past decade. The total annual increase streak, meanwhile, is over five decades long. 

Hormel owns a collection of iconic food brands with a focus on protein. Some of the names you'll likely know include Hormel, Spam, Skippy, and Planters, among many others. It has been shifting away from commodity products and toward higher-margin offerings, expanding via acquisition, continuing to focus heavily on innovation, and pushing into foreign markets. It isn't the biggest consumer staples name, but as this list suggests, it makes up for that in other ways (reliable and rapid dividend growth).

If you are looking for dividend growth and/or if you have a value bias, Hormel is worth a deep dive today.

No need to get fancy

Investing is a very complex task, but you can simplify things by focusing your efforts. One way is to only buy companies that have proven they value shareholders by paying them reliable and growing dividends. Another way is to simply look at the things you use every day. Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, and Hormel are all incredible dividend stocks that are right there in front of you waiting to be discovered.