The food sector continues to provide income investors with plenty of reasons to cheer as the dividend hikes from this group just keep on coming. Spice-maker McCormick (NYSE: MKC) is the latest food-related issue to join the party, announcing an 8.3% increase to its quarterly payout. The company will now pay 26 cents a share, up from 24 cents a share. This is the 24th consecutive year McCormick has boosted its payout and the company has been paying a dividend since 1925. The new dividend is payable on January 15 to shareholders on record on December 31.
McCormick makes spices and seasonings under a variety of labels, including the popular Lawry's brand, which the company recently acquired from Unilever (NYSE:UL). We previously speculated that the company's strong cash position ($226.1 million in free cash at the end of 2008) and prudent management team were positive factors that could lead to future dividend increases and it appears we were correct. McCormick's dividend has tripled in the past 10 years.