Consumer Staples Sector: Overview and Funds

The consumer staples sector, sometimes called the consumer defensive sector, includes companies that produce items such as food, beverages and non-durable household and personal products. It also includes companies that sell food or pharmaceutical drugs. Any product considered a consumer staple is something that is essential or necessary for basic living. Within consumer staples, there are three main industry groups: food and staples retailing, food, beverage and tobacco and household and personal products.

Food and Staples Retailing

The food and staples retailing industry group is broken into four main sub-industries: drug retail, food distributors, food retail and hypermarkets and supercenters. Drug retail includes pharmacies and any other stores that sell pharmaceutical drugs. Food distributors are companies that sell food products to other companies, but not consumers. Food retail includes stores that are not considered hypermarkets or super centers. This could be speciality food stores or small markets.


Food & Staples Retailing

Drug RetailDrug stores and pharmacies.
Food DistributorsCompanies that distribute or wholesale food to other companies. Distributors do not sell directly to consumers and do not necessarily produce the food.
Food RetailStores that sell primarily food, but are not considered super centers. This could be a speciality food story, such as a bakery or butcher shop.
Hypermarkets & Super CentersSuper centers that sell a wide range of food and other staple items.

Examples of companies within food and staples retailing include Wal-Mart, CVS, Costco, Sysco, Kroger and Walgreens.

Food, Beverage and Tobacco

Food, beverage and tobacco includes companies that produce any sort of agricultural products, such as wheat; packaged foods, such as cheese; alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, such as soft drinks and beer and tobacco products, such as cigarettes. 



BrewersBreweries, including breweries producing malt liquors.
Distillers & VintnersDistilleries, vineyards, wineries and vintners.
Soft DrinksCompanies that produce non-alcoholic beverages, including mineral waters. This excludes companies that produce milk.

Food Products

Agricultural ProductsCompanies that produce agricultural products. This also includes crop growers and companies that produce/process foods, but do not package, market or sell these foods.
Packaged Foods & MeatsCompanies that produce packaged foods, including dairy, fruit juice, meat, poultry, fish and pet food.


TobaccoCompanies that produce cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Examples of companies within the food, beverage, and tobacco industry include Coca-Cola, General Mills, Tyson, ConAgra, Kellogg, Molson Coors (maker of Coors, Blue Moon, and Keystone beers) and Philip Morris (maker of Marlboro cigarettes).

Household and Personal Products

The household and personal products industry group includes companies that produce non-durable products such as soap, detergent, diapers, shampoo, and cosmetics. Non-durable refers to products that are repurchased regularly.



Household Products

Household ProductsCompanies that produce non-durable household products, including soap, detergents, paper towels, diapers and tissues.

Personal Products

Personal ProductsCompanies that produce personal and beauty products, including shampoo, cosmetics and perfumes.

Examples of companies that produce household and personal products include Procter & Gamble, Clorox, Colgate-Palmolive and Estée Lauder.

Consumer Staples Sector ETFs and Mutual Funds

Listed below are over 35 ETFs, mutual funds and index funds that follow the consumer staples sector or specific industries within the sector. Most of the funds cover the United States, but some track globally or within specific markets or countries, such as Brazil. For the funds listed below, the expense fees range from 0.10% to 2.35%.


SymbolExpense Ratio

Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF


Vanguard Consumer Staples Index Admiral Shares


Fidelity MSCI Consumer Staples Index ETF


Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR ETF


PowerShares S&P SmallCap Consumer Staples ETF


Guggenheim S&P 500 Equal Weight Consumer Staples ETF


SPDR S&P International Consumer Staples Sector ETF


iShares U.S. Consumer Goods ETF


iShares Global Consumer Staples ETF


PowerShares Dynamic Food & Beverage ETF


PowerShares DWA Consumer Staples Momentum ETF


First Trust Consumer Staples AlphaDEX ETF


WisdomTree Emerging Markets Consumer Growth ETF


Global X Brazil Consumer ETF


Fidelity® Select Consumer Staples Portfolio


Fidelity Advisor® Consumer Staples Fund Class I


EGShares Emerging Markets Consumer ETF


ProShares Ultra Consumer Goods


ProShares UltraShort Consumer Goods


Putnam Global Consumer Fund Class Y


Fidelity Advisor® Consumer Staples Fund Class A


Putnam Global Consumer Fund Class A


Fidelity Advisor® Consumer Staples Fund Class T


Rydex Consumer Products Investor Class


ICON Consumer Staples Fund Class S


Putnam Global Consumer Fund Class R


Rydex Consumer Products Fund Class A


ICON Consumer Staples Fund Class A


Putnam Global Consumer Fund Class M


Fidelity Advisor® Consumer Staples Fund Class C


Fidelity Advisor® Consumer Staples Fund Class B


Rydex Consumer Products Fund Class H


Putnam Global Consumer Fund Class B


Putnam Global Consumer Fund Class C


Rydex Consumer Products Fund Class C


When purchasing shares of an ETF, index fund, or mutual fund, make sure to do research on the fund. You should research the investment strategy, components, fees and sales charges and historical returns of the fund. You should also consider how the fund will fit into your investment portfolio.

Madison is a former Research Analyst at ValuePenguin who focused on student loans and personal loans. She graduated from the University of Rochester with a B.A. in Financial Economics with a double minor in Business and Psychology.