Top Food Stock Picks for Lean Times

Food and beverage stocks, usually considered a defensive play in the face of a recession, have suffered indiscriminate selling in recent months, but shares like Unilever, Heineken and CSM could be valuable additions to stock portfolios at these levels, analysts told Thursday.


"A number of the stocks in the sector have been hammered unjustifiably," Robert Vos, food analyst from Fortis, said. "You would expect these stocks to act as defensive (but) they've also been hammered."

Anglo-Dutch food maker Unilever is a key holding for Vos, particularly because of its strong performance in emerging markets. Amsterdam-listed brewer Heineken and bakery product supplier CSM are also on his "buy" list.

The sector will face the challenge of higher raw material prices and a potential slowdown in emerging-market consumer spending, Vos said.

But these potential drags on earnings are already baked in to current stock levels, he added.

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