You may think that the green movement is only for patchouli-scented hippies who have all the time in the world to read ingredient labels while doing yoga. However, you'd be wrong. There's a lot of money behind sustainable initiatives, and that amount is growing.
A recent study revealed that in 2012, the niche market of conscious consumption began to shift into a globally recognized movement. The study looked at the "16 most prevalent green standards across 10 commodities sectors" and recorded the expansion in both the development and use of voluntary standards during the past decade.
The study, published by an alliance of international organizations, stated that 2012 saw certified or verified production across those 16 standards reach an estimated trade value of $31.6 billion. The green market grew at a rate that was 20 times that of its conventional counterparts. This market is clearly booming; are you positioned to benefit from it?
Green: not just for hippies any more
Companies like Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG 0.31%) and The Hain Celestial Group (HAIN 0.57%) have been enjoying their rides on this bandwagon for some time now. More and more people see the importance in putting their money where their morals are -- and your portfolio can benefit from it.
Chipotle has benefited greatly from embracing the green market, and it shows. The burrito superstar has watched its stock price grow to the tune of about 66% since it announced its increased commitment to locally grown produce. Chipotle upped its locavore dedication by promising to serve 15 million pounds of locally produced produce in 2013, up from the 10 million that it committed to in 2012.
Of course, the Mexican grill's growth isn't attributed to just its conscious supply chain choices; the company's growth and earnings help a lot too. These factors combine to make for a solid green buy.
What the Hain?
Hain Celestial is a powerhouse in the natural product sector, boasting high-profile green brands such as Celestial Seasonings, Jason, and Alba Botanica. The health industry giant saw strong growth during its fiscal second quarter as it posted sales of $534.9 million, which is up 17.5% from last year. Net US sales increased 16.9% year-over-year to just over $327 million.
Hain is looking forward to embrace the growing green economy even more in the future. The company expects its sales to increase 22%-24% in fiscal 2014. It makes sense if you consider Hain's historical devotion to natural products.
What's an investor to do?
Investors have a chance to jump on this trend. Hain's price to sales ratio (ttm) is 2.26; as such, it is outperforming its industry, which has an average price to sales ratio of 1.58. So what's with the 0.68 premium? Well, Hain has the potential to grow significantly in its United Kingdom and Rest of World markets. Looking at it's infrastructure development by analyzing it's long-lived assets (primarily net property, plants and equipment) give us a glimpse into how Hain is prioritizing its expansion efforts. For instance, in the UK its long-lived assets grew about 84% from June to December of last year. This increase may be indicative of the company focusing on building out its regional infrastructure in order to meet increasing demand. Hain's sales confirm the UK's interest in its brands, as it saw a 68% increase year-over-year. .
Hain also acquired two new "lifestyle brands" in 2013, as it is looking to push into the realm of super-premium products. It looks like this company is making a few big pushes into new markets and brands. This growth could mean a growing share price too, something that potential investors should consider.
Chipotle looks like it is intent on diversifying its product line as well, with the addition of its ShopHouse concept and its backing of Pizzeria Locale. Putting its new endeavors aside, Chipotle is looking to open 180-195 more restaurants this year and, on top of that, has been recommended by the Fool for some time now.
Don't discount the hippies -- they have market power that's growing and bankable.