Your Thanksgiving Day Portfolio

thanksgiving-portfolio-2-600x400 It’s that wonderful time of the year when we spend a day eating massive amounts of food with the people we love. Have you ever wondered about the business behind the food on your plate, though? Thanksgiving is big business for more than just retailers. Let’s take a closer look at the typical Thanksgiving Day dishes to see the market impact these foods can make.


Butterball is the nation’s largest turkey producer and actually accounts for 20% of the total turkey production for the United States. As a privately held company (currently an LLC), they do not trade on the markets, however, it’s easy to assume that they plan a majority of their business around Thanksgiving.


While I’m personally a fan of homemade gravy (the women in my life spoil me), I found a Consumer Reports article from 2009 naming Knorr gravy the best available. This is a brand made by Unilever which is based out of the UK. As a publicly traded company, we can see that their market cap (the total market value of the shares outstanding of a publicly traded company) is over $120 billion, and they have revenues of nearly $55 billion.

It looks like everything’s gravy for this company as they’re currently up over 6% for the year and beating the overall markets. Interesting enough, over the past 10 years the stock is up nearly 100%. Maybe I’ll try their gravy this year considering how popular they are.

Green Beans

While there are plenty of popular companies that produce canned green beans (Jolly Green Giant anyone?) for this category we’re looking at Del Monte. They’re based out of California, and they are ruling the canned produce industry. Their market cap is $2.32 billion while their revenues are at $4.01 billion. This stock is outperforming the market, up 32.28% for the year!

Del Monte says that the U.S. fruit, vegetable, tomato and broth packaged food categories represent $1.8 billion in sales annually, and they are in the #1 or #2 market share for each of these categories. It looks like veggies can make the body and a business strong.

Cranberry Sauce

Ocean Spray is currently known for its silly commercials, but did you know they were founded in 1930 by just three cranberry growers? Today they have over 700 farmers in their agricultural cooperative which consists of cranberry and grapefruit owners.

They’re headquartered in Lakeville-Middleboro, MA which is just 45 minutes south of Boston. Cranberry sauce was actually developed by the one of the founding members of this coop because his cranberry harvest had been so bountiful that he needed a new product to avoid waste. After first hitting stores in 1941, today Ocean Spray sells roughly 85.4 million cans of cranberry sauce each year. The holiday season (September to December) makes up 80% of the total cranberry sauce business.

One can of jellied cranberry sauce at Target costs $1.39 per 14oz can, so if they sell 86.4 million cans, then cranberry sauce will make this coop (extremely) roughly $120 million a year. Not too shabby for a product created to reduce food waste.


It’s not the Thanksgiving without some football and beer. Let’s take a look at The Boston Beer Company’s Sam Adams Seasonal which includes Sam Adams, Twisted Tea, and Angry Orchard Hard Cider. The company actually came to be in 1984 after Jim Koch discovered his great-great grandfather’s recipe for Louis Koch Lager in his father’s attic. (A great reminder for you now to head into your family’s attic on Thanksgiving. Clearly it can be a profitable trip.)

This company went public in 1995, and currently has a market cap of $2.77 billion and revenues of nearly $1 billion. With over 1,300 employees, you can sip on your cold brew knowing that it’s supporting a lot of different families. Year-to-date their stock is struggling, down 26.30%, but don't feel too bad for them, though. Over the past ten years, this stock is up over 750%!

Pumpkin Pie

Libby’s Pure Pumpkin has been a part of many families Thanksgiving’s desserts, and it’s currently owned by Nestle. Based out of Switzerland, Nestle owns brands like 100 Grand, Butterfinger, Baby Ruth, Nesquick, Breyers, Hagen-Dazs and many other food brands that would satisfy your sweet tooth. After being first listed on the Zurich Stock Exchange in 1873, Nestle remains trading today, and over the just past five years, their stock is up 32.65%. Clearly they’ve been a pretty sweet investment lately.


That rounds up a great holiday meal, and it’s interesting to see the million or billion dollar industries behind the food on your plate. I think it’s worth noting that for this very American holiday a majority of the food on the table is from U.S. companies, but not all of it. Tweet us at @Wela if there are any Thanksgiving dishes that you think we should have included.


us thanksgiving food




Disclosure:  This information is provided to you as a resource for informational purposes only.  It is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors.  Past performance is not indicative of future results.  Investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal.  This information is not intended to, and should not, form a primary basis for any investment decision that you may make. Always consult your own legal, tax or investment advisor before making any investment/tax/estate/financial planning considerations or decisions.