General Mills (NYSE: GIS) and SunOpta (NASDAQ:STKL) are both non-cyclical consumer goods & services companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their profitability, earnings, dividends, risk, valuation, analyst recommendations and institutional ownership.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent ratings and recommmendations for General Mills and SunOpta, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
General Mills 3 12 1 0 1.88
SunOpta 0 2 3 0 2.60

General Mills presently has a consensus target price of $58.62, suggesting a potential upside of 5.90%. SunOpta has a consensus target price of $8.88, suggesting a potential downside of 0.84%. Given General Mills’ higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe General Mills is more favorable than SunOpta.

Profitability

This table compares General Mills and SunOpta’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
General Mills 10.40% 39.09% 7.30%
SunOpta -3.70% -0.70% -0.23%

Dividends

General Mills pays an annual dividend of $1.96 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.5%. SunOpta does not pay a dividend. General Mills pays out 70.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. SunOpta has increased its dividend for 13 consecutive years.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares General Mills and SunOpta’s revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
General Mills $15.62 billion 2.04 $3.41 billion $2.77 19.98
SunOpta $1.31 billion 0.59 $70.04 million ($0.64) -13.98

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

Insider and Institutional Ownership

69.5% of General Mills shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 79.3% of SunOpta shares are held by institutional investors. 1.4% of General Mills shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 1.9% of SunOpta shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Volatility and Risk

General Mills has a beta of 0.62, meaning that its share price is 38% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, SunOpta has a beta of 1.76, meaning that its share price is 76% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

General Mills beats SunOpta on 9 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

About General Mills

General Mills, Inc. is a manufacturer and marketer of branded consumer foods sold through retail stores. The Company is a supplier of branded and unbranded food products to the North American foodservice and commercial baking industries. The Company has three segments: U.S. Retail, International, and Convenience Stores and Foodservice. Its products are marketed under various brands, which include Annie’s and Betty Crocker. The Company’s U.S. Retail segment reflects business with a range of grocery stores, mass merchandisers, membership stores, natural food chains, drug, dollar and discount chains, and e-commerce grocery providers operating throughout the United States. The International segment consists of retail and foodservice businesses outside of the United States. The Convenience Stores and Foodservice segment’s product categories include ready-to-eat cereals, snacks, refrigerated yogurt, frozen meals, unbaked and fully baked frozen dough products, and baking mixes.

About SunOpta

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.

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