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The following is a list of food stocks that have seen significant institutional selling over the last three months.

To give more perspective on investor sentiment, we'll also include data on short float and performance.

Is this excessive pessimism justified? If you're a contrarian, these trends might raise a flag. Full analysis below.

Institutional data sourced from Reuters, short float data sourced from Finviz.

click for expanded image

The list has been sorted by change in institutional ownership over the last three months.

1. Dole Food Company Inc. (DOLE): Food Industry. Market cap of $832.89M. Institutional investors currently own 43,353,165 shares vs. 47,169,112 shares held three months ago (-8.09% change). Short float at 20.79%, which implies a short ratio of 17.11 days. The stock has lost -20.67% over the last year.

2. Ralcorp Holdings Inc. (RAH): Processed & Packaged Goods Industry. Market cap of $3.42B. Institutional investors currently own 46,065,846 shares vs. 49,358,426 shares held three months ago (-6.67% change). Short float at 3.98%, which implies a short ratio of 5.41 days. The stock has gained 14.02% over the last year.

3. DineEquity, Inc. (DIN): Restaurants Industry. Market cap of $803.44M. Institutional investors currently own 21,166,684 shares vs. 22,099,393 shares held three months ago (-4.22% change). Short float at 19.9%, which implies a short ratio of 12.01 days. The stock has gained 98.19% over the last year.

4. Lancaster Colony Corporation (LANC): Food Industry. Market cap of $1.42B. Institutional investors currently own 14,337,836 shares vs. 14,928,337 shares held three months ago (-3.96% change). Short float at 11.53%, which implies a short ratio of 13.15 days. The stock has gained 5.22% over the last year.

5. SunOpta Inc. (STKL): Processed & Packaged Goods Industry. Market cap of $408.99M. Institutional investors currently own 36,446,837 shares vs. 37,333,896 shares held three months ago (-2.38% change). Short float at 0.19%, which implies a short ratio of 0.37 days. The stock has gained 66.76% over the last year.

6. Bunge Ltd. (BG): Farm Products Industry. Market cap of $8.66B. Institutional investors currently own 97,644,169 shares vs. 99,657,861 shares held three months ago (-2.02% change). Short float at 7.21%, which implies a short ratio of 6.39 days. The stock has gained 2.08% over the last year.

7. Central Garden & Pet Co. (CENT): Food Industry. Market cap of $654.79M. Institutional investors currently own 11,956,418 shares vs. 12,141,992 shares held three months ago (-1.53% change). Short float at 0.54%, which implies a short ratio of 3.34 days. The stock has lost -3.64% over the last year.

Disclosure: No positions

Source: 7 Food Stocks Being Dumped by Smart Money