Twelve Food Stocks to Whet Your Appetite?

As surging agricultural-commodity prices continue their march to multi-year highs, special report on "Food Economics" explores the various dimensions of food: commodities trading, globalization, energy, biotechnology and government policy.

The Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index, a benchmark tracking 19 commodities mostly traded in the United States, is up 75 percent since the market

Food Economics - A CNBC Special Report
Food Economics - A CNBC Special Report

bottom on March 9, 2009, and nearly 10 percent year-to-date (See some of the hottest commodities so far in 2011)

While high input prices for food producers may impact their bottom line, companies tend to pass on these costs to consumers, hence offsetting some of the effects from an increase in raw materials.

In fact, among a group of 110 stocks operating in the food industry nearly half are beating the S&P 500 year-to-date, up over 8 percent.

Of the stocks that are up the most, companies in the packaging sector appear to have taken the lead.

Consolidation in the industry is also evident. Indeed, ConAgra Foods recently disclosed a $4.9 billion offer to buy Ralcorp Holdings, an acquisition that would create the third largest US packaging company by sales.

Here is a look at twelve stocks operating in different sectors of the food industry and are up more than 20 percent year-to-date.

Data Source: CNBC Analytics, Capital IQ & Thomson Reuters

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