Growth stock investors tend to ignore consumer staples stocks in favor of more exciting industries like software and entertainment services. Businesses that sell essentials are generally seen as stable and mature but not as sources for market-beating returns.

If you fall in this camp, let me introduce you to PepsiCo (PEP -0.71%). The beverage and snack food giant just closed a second straight year of excellent sales growth despite swinging consumer demand trends. And while Pepsi is expecting a growth slowdown in 2023, there are some great reasons to like the stock today.

Let's dive right in.

Doing more with less

PepsiCo's headline sales result in 2022 could easily apply to a tech specialist that's early on in its growth story. Organic sales were up a blistering 15% in the fourth quarter and jumped 14% for the full year.

These gains came on top of a 10% spike in 2021 as consumers spent freely on snacks and beverages. Pepsi has expanded its revenue footprint by 23%, or $16 billion, over the past two years.

Yes, the 2022 gains came mostly from rising prices, and modest volume declines illustrate that there's a limit to this strategy. But investors should be thrilled to see Pepsi's ability to pass along higher costs. That pricing power is evidence of competitive assets like customer loyalty and a premium market position. It's a sign of stronger earnings growth ahead, too.

The 2023 outlook

Pepsi's management team projects a 6% organic sales increase in 2023, which would put revenue gains at the high end of their long-term growth outlook. Profitability should start rebounding, too, now that price increases are working their way through the portfolio of snacks and beverage products. Executives expect core earnings to rise 8% this year.

Pepsi is excited about attractive niches like energy drinks, sports nutrition, and alcoholic beverages. "We will continue to focus on driving growth and winning in the marketplace," CEO Ramon Laguarta told investors back in early February.

Tasty value

Investors don't have to pay too much for these assets, either. Pepsi shares are priced at about 3 times annual sales today. The more profitable McCormick is priced at 3.6 times sales even though it has been posting weaker sales results in recent quarters. Pepsi stock looks attractive on a price-to-earnings (P/E) basis, too, with shares trading for 29 times earnings compared to McCormick's 35.

Pepsi shares look cheap given the prospects for expanding margins and steady sales growth in 2023 and beyond. Toss in the dividend, which has risen for 51 consecutive years, and you have all the ingredients for solid returns from here.

Sure, growth investors can find higher projected sales gains in smaller companies located in less mature industries. But a strong portfolio shouldn't focus entirely on higher-risk areas like these.

Owning PepsiCo can add stability and income to your portfolio while still providing exposure to potentially strong sales gains over time. That makes it worth keeping the consumer staples giant on your watchlist for 2023.