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Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) and Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) have a lot in common. Besides serving up caffeinated drinks to a thirsty world, both companies also have shareholder-friendly dividend policies — and their stocks have underperformed the stock market over the last year. Coca-Cola’s total return over that period is just 8.7%, while Starbucks saw a 20.5% value drop instead, and the S&P 500 gained 28.6%.

In other words, these household names come with strong dividend yields and the promise of continued payout boosts for years to come. And in my eyes, the rumors of Starbucks’ and Coke’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. The top-shelf quality stocks are on fire sale right now.

If you’re looking for a great dividend stock to buy today, you should consider doubling down on Coca-Cola and Starbucks. Here’s why.

KO Dividend data by YCharts

A shared history of dividend increases

As you can see in the chart above, Starbucks and Coca-Cola are in the habit of increasing their dividend payouts every year.

Coca-Cola’s dividend growth history is significantly longer, spanning several decades. This long-term growth provides investors with a sense of security and predictability, which is particularly appealing for those seeking stable income. If Coke has raised its payouts through thick and thin for 63 years (which it did), the company seems likely to continue boosting those quarterly dividend checks regardless of downturns and business challenges in the future.

In contrast, the green Starbucks line may be shorter but also comes with a much steeper growth trajectory. After starting its dividend payments in the spring of 2010, Starbucks has rapidly increased its payouts. This vibrant policy trend reflects the company’s dynamic growth and strong financial health.

Coca-Cola offers a more consistent and historically reliable dividend, which might be preferable for conservative investors who look for long-term stability above all else. On the other hand, Starbucks’ higher dividend growth rate can appeal to investors who are willing to take on a bit more risk for the potential of higher returns.

KO Free Cash Flow data by YCharts

Robust free cash flows supporting the payouts

The chart above shows you the robust free cash flows behind those inviting dividend payouts. It’s great to see dividends financed by strong cash flows, and these great companies deliver that quality with gusto. Coca-Cola spent 79% of its free cash flows on dividend payments over the last year, and Starbucks’ cash-based payout ratio stopped at 63%.

Now, both Starbucks and Coca-Cola are facing significant business challenges. Shifting consumer preferences are always a concern, along with a never-ending influx of new rivals.

However, these companies address their challenges in very different ways. Starbucks is doubling down on its premium image, expanding its high-end Reserve stores and personalized digital experiences. As part of the digital strategy, the company is using its loyalty program to increase customer engagement and retention.

Coca-Cola, on the other hand, is diversifying its product portfolio, moving beyond sugary sodas into a broad range of healthier options like bottled water, teas, and plant-based drinks. It’s also investing heavily in sustainable packaging solutions to address growing environmental concerns.

Both companies are actively adapting to the changing landscape, but their strategies reflect their unique strengths and ultra-familiar brand identities.

Fizzy dividends for the long haul

With their hefty cash flows and smart strategies, both Coca-Cola and Starbucks are set to keep those dividend payments flowing for years to come. These companies have robust free cash flows that not only cover their dividends but also leave plenty of room for growth and innovation.

With its decades-long history of stable dividends, Coca-Cola is like a reliable friend who’s always there when you need them. You can count on it to keep delivering those quarterly checks, come rain or shine.

Starbucks is an energetic relative newcomer with a rapid growth trend. It’s on a roll, quickly boosting its payouts and showing no signs of slowing down.

These companies are masters of dealing with business challenges and playing to their strengths. For dividend investors, the future with Coca-Cola and Starbucks looks bright and secure — and their stocks should soon recover from this year’s price dip. It’s high time to take action and buy some shares of these discounted industry titans today.

Should you invest $1,000 in Starbucks right now?

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Anders Bylund has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Starbucks. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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