Stock markets around the world have had a few uncertain years. The instability of oil prices, along with some big political changes, has made this a difficult time. In the United Kingdom, companies like Tate & Lyle, who had been a reliable bluechip for decades, were hit by dramatic shifts in consumer demand, as well as a looming tax on sugar. In the US, fast food franchises like Quiznos have had their momentum cut short, with closure after closure threatening the integrity of what was once the second biggest sandwich franchise in the world.

Needless to say, this is not a great time for food companies. But there are plenty of positives, plenty of companies that could thrive while others struggle. You just need to know where to look.

In this guide we’ll take a look at the most promising stocks for 2017, helping you to buy shares in the hottest stocks on the market. 

Dominos Pizza

I know what you’re thinking: how much profit can be left in pizza? Well, you’d be surprised. Dominos Pizza is one of the most consistent performers in the stock market. Listed on both the NYSE (DPZ) and the LSE (DOM), this stock had a brilliant 2016. It bucked the trend, going up when rivals were going down, and it looks set for a big 2017.

One of the things that has ensured the continued success of this brand is the appetite for growth and the way it handles its employees. Dominos employees are instilled with a genuine love for the brand. They are paid well and given plenty of opportunities for growth. As a result, they have created a system whereby employees begin behind the counter, work their way to management, and then eventually purchase a franchise of their own.

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By this time they have the experience needed to make a success of their franchise, and this reflects positively on the Dominos brand. The fact that Dominos can be found in dozens of countries around the world also helps.

In March 2016, NYSE: DPZ opened at a low of 112. By the end of Feb 2017 it was touching 190. Dividends are strong. The future is bright, and this is a great stock to have on any portfolio. 

Kraft Heinz

Trading under the ticker KHC on the NASDAQ, Kraft Heinz is a hugely powerful company with its sights set on global domination. Sales have been fluctuating somewhat and throughout 2016 they seemed to be struggling. However, with such an appetite for investing, KHC stockholders will be able to ride the gossip wave right to the bank.

These shares will get a boost every time KHC announce their interest in a new company or brand, and another boost when/if those sales go through. This bluechip company also provides some much needed stability to a food-stock portfolio, keeping the dividends rolling in and ensuring your money is safely tied-up.

Associated British Foods

ABF is one of the biggest companies on the London Stock Exchange and is a must for any portfolio. ABF owns a great number of top British companies and regularly buys and sells big brands, rewarding its stockholders will a steadily increasing stock price and a regular flow of dividends.

The biggest company owned by ABF is actually Primark, a clothing brand. This chain is growing at a great rate and is worth the investment alone. Some of the other brands by ABF include Ovaltine, Ryvita, Patak’s, Twinings and Jordan’s Cereals. The beauty of such a big brand with such an eclectic mix of products is that even if one of them struggles, there is always something ready to pick up the slack.

Potbelly

Trading on the NASDAQ under the ticker PBPB, Potbelly is one of the most promising sub chains out there right now, and there are many to choose from. The likes of Subway have dominated this sector for some time, but competition is fierce. Jimmy John’s is growing at a phenomenal rate, while Firehouse Subs has also generated a lot of excitement and interest.

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If those two were publicly traded then we might be listed them here instead of Potbelly. Their growth is greater and they actually have the potential to rival Subway (especially in the case of Jimmy John’s) whereas Potbelly does not. However, this is still a very strong stock and one that is currently available at a bargain price.

Potbelly is considerably stronger than suffering brands like Quiznos, and while it’s not quite on par with the Big S, its model is promising and worthy of an investment. It just takes one big push, one buy-out or even one gossip and these tiny, undervalued shares will go through the roof. We have a good feeling that one of those things will happen in 2017.

What to Avoid

2017 is not going to be a good year for food considered to be “unhealthy”. Bans on trans fats and sugar taxes, as well as increasing consumer demand for healthy foods, have punctured holes in titanic corporations. They’re sinking, and while they will probably do enough to stay afloat, it’s going to be at the expense of a huge drop in profits and in share price.

At the same time, however, it might not necessarily be a great time to sink your money in healthy fads. These have saturated the marketplace and interest seems to be waning. You also have to remember that no amount of demonizing, no amount of taxes or bans will stop people from eating fast food. So, don’t sink your money into a health-food stock thinking that some day soon we’ll all be eating like rabbits. It’s just not going to happen.

Instead, think less about the fads and trends of an entire industry and more about the history and performance of individual stocks.

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Mark is the Editor-in-Chief of So Good Blog.

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