MGP Ingredients (NASDAQ: MGPI) and SunOpta (NASDAQ:STKL) are both consumer staples companies, but which is the superior business? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their institutional ownership, earnings, risk, profitability, dividends, valuation and analyst recommendations.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

99.4% of MGP Ingredients shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 82.4% of SunOpta shares are owned by institutional investors. 23.5% of MGP Ingredients shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 1.9% of SunOpta shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current ratings and recommmendations for MGP Ingredients and SunOpta, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
MGP Ingredients 0 1 1 0 2.50
SunOpta 0 2 3 0 2.60

MGP Ingredients presently has a consensus price target of $66.00, indicating a potential downside of 9.38%. SunOpta has a consensus price target of $9.33, indicating a potential upside of 6.06%. Given SunOpta’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe SunOpta is more favorable than MGP Ingredients.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares MGP Ingredients and SunOpta’s top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio NetIncome Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
MGP Ingredients $328.08 million 3.71 $31.18 million $2.17 33.56
SunOpta $1.35 billion 0.57 -$51.18 million ($0.64) -13.75

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

Profitability

This table compares MGP Ingredients and SunOpta’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
MGP Ingredients 10.56% 18.87% 12.40%
SunOpta -3.70% -0.70% -0.23%

Dividends

MGP Ingredients pays an annual dividend of $0.16 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.2%. SunOpta does not pay a dividend. MGP Ingredients pays out 7.4% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Volatility & Risk

MGP Ingredients has a beta of 0.96, indicating that its share price is 4% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, SunOpta has a beta of 1.74, indicating that its share price is 74% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

MGP Ingredients beats SunOpta on 9 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

MGP Ingredients Company Profile

MGP Ingredients, Inc. is a producer and supplier of distilled spirits, and specialty wheat protein and starch food ingredients. The Company’s distilled spirits include bourbon and rye whiskeys, and grain neutral spirits, including vodka and gin. The Company’s segments include distillery products and ingredient solutions. The distillery products segment consists of food grade alcohol and distillery co-products, such as distillers feed and fuel grade alcohol. The ingredient solutions segment consists of specialty starches and proteins, commodity starches and commodity proteins. The distillery products segment also includes warehouse services, including barrel put away, barrel storage, and barrel retrieval services. It is also a producer of industrial alcohol for use in both food and non-food applications. The Company’s distillery products are derived from corn and other grains (including rye, barley, wheat, barley malt and milo), and its ingredient products are derived from wheat flour.

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.

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