Exchange-traded funds offer a convenient way to invest in sectors or niches that interest you. If you expect demand for consumer staples to keep growing as our population grows, the First Trust Consumer Staples AlphaDEX ETF
ETFs often sport lower expense ratios than their mutual fund cousins. The Consumer Staples ETF's expense ratio -- its annual fee -- is 0.7%. That's a bit higher than many ETFs, but still much lower than the typical stock mutual fund.
This ETF has performed reasonably well, having beaten the S&P 500 over the past three years, on average. The fund is still young, though. As with most investments, of course, we can't expect outstanding performances in every quarter or year. Investors with conviction need to wait for their holdings to deliver.
What's in it?
Several of this ETF's components made strong contributions to its performance over the past year. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters
Other companies didn't add as much to the ETF's returns last year, but could have an effect in the years to come. Food distribution giant Sysco
The big picture
Demand for consumer staples isn't going away anytime soon. (That's why they're staples.) A well-chosen ETF can grant you instant diversification across any industry or group of companies -- and make investing in and profiting from it that much easier.
Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian holds no position in any company mentioned. Click here to see her holdings and a short bio. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Sysco, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, and Medco Health Solutions, as well as creating a lurking gator position in Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.