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4 Companies You Won't Believe Are Publicly Traded

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A small handful of multinational conglomerates seemingly own almost every major consumer packaged goods brand, food company, or restaurant chain—yet some big-name brands and firms have managed to survive, sometimes for decades, all on their own.

Nestle (NSRGY - Free Report) , PepsiCo (PEP - Free Report) , Coca-Cola (KO - Free Report) , Kraft-Heinz (KHC - Free Report) , Unilever (UN - Free Report) , General Mills (GIS - Free Report) , Yum! Brands (YUM - Free Report) , and an array other firms dominate consumer-facing industries, snatching up brands left and right. The reach of these multibillion-dollar companies is greater than ever, especially as some of the largest companies begin to join forces in order to compete long-term on a grand scale.

But there will always be companies that avoid being swallowed up by brands for various reasons, especially if their stocks are performing well and their bottom lines continue to grow.

Now let’s look at four companies that are almost certainly household names throughout the U.S. that many people might find hard to believe are still their own publicly traded firms.

Tootsie Roll Industries, Inc.

Little tiny Tootsie Rolls have been staples in Halloween baskets for decades. But the candy company’s success might make investors think it got scooped up by a candy giant, such as Mars, years ago. On the contrary, Tootsie Roll has turned into a bit of a powerhouse itself.

The company now boasts an array of different candy brands—from Blow Pop and Caramel Apple Pops to Dots and even Junior Mints. With a market cap of $2.38 billion, shares of Tootsie Roll have climbed steadily in recent years. The candy power’s stock now sits just a few dollars below its all-time high of $40.44 per share and has popped from under $20 a share just over five years ago.

The Clorox Company (CLX - Free Report)

Like Tootsie Roll, Clorox has turned itself into a bit of a conglomerate. The cleaning company’s brands include Green Works, Pine-Sol, Glad, 409, and others. With a market cap of nearly $17 billion, the company is certainly not small and wouldn’t be easily acquired, but with giants such as Procter & Gamble (PG) and Kimberly-Clark (KMB - Free Report) out there lurking, it is a testament to the company’s strength that it still stands on its own.

The company, which has been around for more than 100 years, is currently a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) but earned an “A” for Growth in our Style Scores system. Shares of Clorox have soared over the last decade and have gained 9.40% since the start of the year.

Nathan's Famous, Inc.

The host of the famous 4th of July hot dog eating contest has been churning out cased-meats since 1916. Nathan’s Famous is a small cap company with a market cap of around $310 million, and it has seen its stock price do a 360-degree turn in just the last two years. Nathan’s stock sat at an all-time high of over $81 per share in 2015 before it sank to $30 a share. Shares then climbed back slowly and now rest at around $74.

The company owns a line of grocery store dogs, burgers, fries, and pickles, as well as a chain of restaurants, yet it has not been scarfed up by big chains such as Yum! Brands.

Hostess Brands, Inc. (TWNK - Free Report)

This iconic maker of Twinkies, Ho Hos, and others screams Americana. It is hard to believe that Hostess Brands has not been bought by a big CPG company, but, it in fact, just recently went public.

Hostess Brands was almost bankrupt less than a decade ago, then two investment firms bought the company out of liquidation in 2013. The company then went public in 2016. With a market cap of $1.78 billion, the newly public snack maker’s stock price has fared well. Shares of the company that has been around since before the Great Depression gained a modest 6.15% since the start of the year, but Hostess Brands is currently a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

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