Hershey (NYSE: HSY) and Kraft Heinz (NASDAQ:KHC) are both large-cap consumer staples companies, but which is the better investment? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their risk, analyst recommendations, dividends, valuation, profitability, earnings and institutional ownership.

Profitability

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This table compares Hershey and Kraft Heinz’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Hershey 9.52% 124.06% 19.16%
Kraft Heinz 15.03% 7.49% 3.63%

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Hershey and Kraft Heinz’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Hershey $7.44 billion 3.11 $720.04 million $3.36 32.71
Kraft Heinz $26.49 billion 3.62 $3.63 billion $3.21 24.54

Kraft Heinz has higher revenue and earnings than Hershey. Kraft Heinz is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Hershey, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent ratings for Hershey and Kraft Heinz, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Hershey 2 7 4 0 2.15
Kraft Heinz 0 4 11 0 2.73

Hershey presently has a consensus price target of $113.31, indicating a potential upside of 3.11%. Kraft Heinz has a consensus price target of $93.00, indicating a potential upside of 18.07%. Given Kraft Heinz’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Kraft Heinz is more favorable than Hershey.

Risk & Volatility

Hershey has a beta of 0.38, suggesting that its stock price is 62% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Kraft Heinz has a beta of 0.45, suggesting that its stock price is 55% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Dividends

Hershey pays an annual dividend of $2.62 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.4%. Kraft Heinz pays an annual dividend of $2.50 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.2%. Hershey pays out 78.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Kraft Heinz pays out 77.9% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Kraft Heinz has increased its dividend for 8 consecutive years. Kraft Heinz is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

51.5% of Hershey shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 61.9% of Kraft Heinz shares are owned by institutional investors. 0.9% of Hershey shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 26.9% of Kraft Heinz shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Summary

Kraft Heinz beats Hershey on 13 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Hershey

The Hershey Company is a producer of chocolate in North America. The Company’s principal product offerings include chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery products; gum and mint refreshment products; pantry items, such as baking ingredients and beverages, and snack items, such as spreads, meat snacks, bars and snack bites and mixes. Its segments include North America, and International and Other. The North America segment includes its chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery business, as well as its grocery and snacks business. This includes developing and growing its business in chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery, pantry, food service and other snacking product lines. The Company distributes and sells confectionery products in export markets of Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, Africa and other regions. As of December 31, 2016, the Company marketed, sold and distributed its products under more than 80 brand names in approximately 70 countries across the world.

About Kraft Heinz

The Kraft Heinz Company is a food and beverage company. The Company is engaged in the manufacturing and marketing of food and beverage products, including condiments and sauces, cheese and dairy, meals, meats, refreshment beverages, coffee and other grocery products. The Company’s segments include the United States, Canada and Europe. The Company’s remaining businesses are combined as Rest of World. The Rest of World consists of Latin America and Asia, Middle East and Africa (AMEA). The Company provides products for various occasions whether at home, in restaurants or on the go. The Company’s brands include Heinz, Kraft, Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia, Planters, Velveeta, Lunchables, Maxwell House, Capri Sun, and Ore-Ida. The Company’s products are sold through its own sales organizations and through independent brokers, agents and distributors to chain, wholesale, cooperative and independent grocery accounts, convenience stores, drug stores, value stores, bakeries and pharmacies.

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