Dean Foods (NYSE: DF) and WhiteWave Foods (NYSE:WWAV) are both non-cyclical consumer goods & services companies, but which is the superior stock? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their risk, institutional ownership, dividends, profitability, analyst recommendations, earnings and valuation.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

80.6% of WhiteWave Foods shares are held by institutional investors. 1.2% of Dean Foods shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 6.2% of WhiteWave Foods shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Profitability

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

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Dean Foods 0.92% 11.77% 2.82%
WhiteWave Foods 6.21% 17.51% 5.92%

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current ratings for Dean Foods and WhiteWave Foods, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Dean Foods 3 7 3 0 2.00
WhiteWave Foods 1 4 0 0 1.80

Dean Foods presently has a consensus target price of $14.67, indicating a potential upside of 22.32%. WhiteWave Foods has a consensus target price of $56.08, indicating a potential downside of 0.28%. Given Dean Foods’ stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, equities research analysts plainly believe Dean Foods is more favorable than WhiteWave Foods.

Dividends

Dean Foods pays an annual dividend of $0.36 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.0%. WhiteWave Foods does not pay a dividend. Dean Foods pays out 60.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Volatility & Risk

Dean Foods has a beta of 0.54, suggesting that its stock price is 46% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, WhiteWave Foods has a beta of 1.46, suggesting that its stock price is 46% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Dean Foods and WhiteWave Foods’ top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Dean Foods $7.91 billion 0.14 $376.23 million $0.60 19.98
WhiteWave Foods N/A N/A N/A $1.11 50.67

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

Summary

WhiteWave Foods beats Dean Foods on 8 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Dean Foods

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.

About WhiteWave Foods

The WhiteWave Foods Company is a consumer packaged food and beverage company. The Company manufactures, markets, distributes and sells branded plant-based foods and beverages, coffee creamers and beverages, dairy products and organic produce. It operates through two segments: Americas Foods & Beverages and Europe Foods & Beverages. The Americas Foods & Beverages segment includes plant-based foods and beverages, including its Silk and So Delicious branded beverages, such as soymilk, almondmilk, coconutmilk and cashewmilk, ice cream and frozen products, and plant-based yogurts, and Vega plant-based products. The Europe Foods & Beverages segment includes plant-based foods and beverages, such as its Alpro and Provamel brand beverages using soy, almond, coconut, hazelnut, rice and oat and other plant-based ingredients, and plant-based alternatives to yogurt, culinary creams, desserts and margarine. It sells products primarily in North America, Europe and through a joint venture in China.

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