SunOpta (NASDAQ: STKL) and Dean Foods (NYSE:DF) are both small-cap consumer staples companies, but which is the superior stock? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, profitabiliy, risk, valuation, institutional ownership, dividends and earnings.


This table compares SunOpta and Dean Foods’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
SunOpta -3.95% 0.58% 0.19%
Dean Foods 0.91% 19.34% 4.49%

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and target prices for SunOpta and Dean Foods, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
SunOpta 0 2 3 0 2.60
Dean Foods 2 2 5 0 2.33

SunOpta presently has a consensus target price of $8.88, indicating a potential downside of 9.90%. Dean Foods has a consensus target price of $20.33, indicating a potential upside of 32.46%. Given Dean Foods’ higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe Dean Foods is more favorable than SunOpta.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

87.0% of SunOpta shares are owned by institutional investors. 1.9% of SunOpta shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 1.2% of Dean Foods shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a company is poised for long-term growth.


Dean Foods pays an annual dividend of $0.36 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.3%. SunOpta does not pay a dividend. Dean Foods pays out 46.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Volatility & Risk

SunOpta has a beta of 1.78, indicating that its stock price is 78% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Dean Foods has a beta of 0.55, indicating that its stock price is 45% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares SunOpta and Dean Foods’ revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
SunOpta $1.32 billion 0.64 $73.36 million ($0.66) -14.92
Dean Foods $7.83 billion 0.18 $396.16 million $0.77 19.94

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


Dean Foods beats SunOpta on 9 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

SunOpta Company Profile

Sunopta Inc is a Canada-based company, which operates businesses focused on a healthy products portfolio. It operates through the following segments: Global Ingredients and Consumer Products. The Global Ingredients segment aggregates its North American and international raw material sourcing and supply operating segments focused on the procurement, processing and sale of specialty and organic grains, seeds, fruits, grain- and cocoa-based ingredients, and other commodities. The Consumer Products segment provides healthy and organic food products that are consumer-packaged to retailers, foodservice distributors and food manufacturers with a range of branded and private label products. It is focused on sourcing non-genetically modified (non-GMO) and organic ingredients, and manufacturing healthy food and beverage products. It manufactures packaged products focused on the healthy beverage, healthy fruit and healthy snack categories.

Dean Foods Company Profile

Dean Foods Company is a food and beverage company. The Company processes and distributes fluid milk, and other dairy and dairy case products in the United States. It is engaged in manufacturing, marketing, selling and distributing a range of branded and private label dairy and dairy case products. It offers branded and private label dairy case products, including fluid milk, ice cream, cultured dairy products, creamers, ice cream mix and other dairy products to retailers, distributors, foodservice outlets, educational institutions and governmental entities across the United States. It also offers juices, teas and bottled water. As of December 31, 2016, the Company had over 50 national, regional and local dairy brands, as well as private labels. As of December 31, 2016, the Company’s national, local and regional licensed brands included Alta Dena, Hygeia, PET, Arctic Splash, Jilbert, Pog, Barbers Dairy, Purity, Berkeley Farms, Land-O-Sun & design and ReadyLeaf, Broughton.

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