McCormick: Flavorful Favorite

09/11/2015 8:00 am EST


Jimmy Mengel

Editor, Outsider Club

This recommendation is near and dear to my heart...and my mouth. Indeed, it is a global leader in flavor—making and marketing spices, seasoning mixes, and condiments—asserts Jimmy Mengel, editor of The Crow’s Nest.

With $4.2 billion in annual sales, McCormick & Company (MKC) provides flavorful products to the entire food industry, retail outlets, food manufacturers, and food service businesses.

Willoughby McCormick started the business with a staff of three in 1889 when he was 25 years old. The company has quietly raised its dividend over the past 91 years. That qualifies it as a dividend aristocrat, in a big way.

When I was living in Baltimore County during college, I used to wake up to the incredible smells of the McCormick spice factory in Hunt Valley.

Some days the air would be permeated with lemon pepper, paprika, or the classic Baltimore smell of Old Bay seasoning, perhaps the most underrated seasoning in America.

The largest portion of McCormick’s consumer business is spices, herbs, and seasonings. If you cook, you have some in your house.

Lawry’s famous seasoning salt was created at The Prime Rib restaurant in Beverly Hills in the late 1930s.

Meanwhile, Zatarain’s is the nation’s leading maker of New Orleans-style foods. It offers over 200 food products like rice and pasta dinner mixes.

McCormick also offers Thai Kitchen brand, Simply Asia, and El Guapo; the latter is the largest seller of Hispanic spices.

McCormick also just acquired One World Foods, which is the seller of the famous Stubb’s Barbeque Sauce, the number one brand of premium authentic barbecue sauce in the US.

In the past decade, a 9% compound annual growth rate in our earnings per share and higher dividends has led to an annual total shareholder return of 13%, exceeding returns of the S&P 500 stock index and the food group.

The percentage of sales in emerging markets has grown from 10% in 2011 to 14% in 2012 and is expected to reach 20% by 2015.

McCormick’s serves nine of the top ten multi-national food manufacturers and eight of the top ten global food service restaurants.

Long-term, McCormick is a safe and dependable dividend grower, providing investors with slow and steady growth.

That being said, the stock is sitting around 52-week highs and we still may see some dips over the rest of this year.

If you want to start a dividend reinvestment program with it, I would be comfortable starting a small stake under $85, compounding your dividends and dollar cost averaging your way from there.

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