Stock Analysis

Is Vital Farms, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:VITL) Recent Price Movement Underpinned By Its Weak Fundamentals?

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It is hard to get excited after looking at Vital Farms' (NASDAQ:VITL) recent performance, when its stock has declined 9.4% over the past week. It seems that the market might have completely ignored the positive aspects of the company's fundamentals and decided to weigh-in more on the negative aspects. Fundamentals usually dictate market outcomes so it makes sense to study the company's financials. In this article, we decided to focus on Vital Farms' ROE.

Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. In simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

See our latest analysis for Vital Farms

How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

The formula for return on equity is:

Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Vital Farms is:

0.8% = US$1.2m ÷ US$158m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2022).

The 'return' is the amount earned after tax over the last twelve months. So, this means that for every $1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of $0.01.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?

We have already established that ROE serves as an efficient profit-generating gauge for a company's future earnings. We now need to evaluate how much profit the company reinvests or "retains" for future growth which then gives us an idea about the growth potential of the company. Assuming everything else remains unchanged, the higher the ROE and profit retention, the higher the growth rate of a company compared to companies that don't necessarily bear these characteristics.

A Side By Side comparison of Vital Farms' Earnings Growth And 0.8% ROE

As you can see, Vital Farms' ROE looks pretty weak. Even compared to the average industry ROE of 12%, the company's ROE is quite dismal. Given the circumstances, the significant decline in net income by 17% seen by Vital Farms over the last five years is not surprising. However, there could also be other factors causing the earnings to decline. Such as - low earnings retention or poor allocation of capital.

However, when we compared Vital Farms' growth with the industry we found that while the company's earnings have been shrinking, the industry has seen an earnings growth of 6.9% in the same period. This is quite worrisome.

NasdaqGM:VITL Past Earnings Growth March 16th 2023

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. Is Vital Farms fairly valued compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

Is Vital Farms Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Vital Farms doesn't pay any dividend, meaning that the company is keeping all of its profits, which makes us wonder why it is retaining its earnings if it can't use them to grow its business. It looks like there might be some other reasons to explain the lack in that respect. For example, the business could be in decline.


In total, we're a bit ambivalent about Vital Farms' performance. While the company does have a high rate of reinvestment, the low ROE means that all that reinvestment is not reaping any benefit to its investors, and moreover, its having a negative impact on the earnings growth. With that said, we studied the latest analyst forecasts and found that while the company has shrunk its earnings in the past, analysts expect its earnings to grow in the future. To know more about the company's future earnings growth forecasts take a look at this free report on analyst forecasts for the company to find out more.

What are the risks and opportunities for Vital Farms?

Vital Farms, Inc., a food company, provides pasture-raised products in the United States.

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  • Trading at 35.2% below our estimate of its fair value

  • Earnings are forecast to grow 57.87% per year


  • High level of non-cash earnings

  • Profit margins (0.3%) are lower than last year (0.9%)

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