For a 14th year running, Meredith Adler of Barclays is the best analyst covering U.S. food and drug chain equities, according to investors and buy-side researchers. Of the ten other currently top-ranked All-America Research Team Hall of Famers, just one — Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.’s A.M. (Toni) Sacconaghi — matches her reign; and only David Raso of Evercore ISI boasts a longer winning streak, at 15 years. Adler, 61, is “extremely diligent, intellectually honest and superb at identifying contrarian opportunities by focusing on the key controversies and drawing conclusions based on well-researched facts,” one fund manager attests. Retailers in this space outperformed the S&P 500 by 11.1 percentage points during the 12-month period through mid-September, climbing 8.5 percent, and the analyst describes herself as “cautiously optimistic” on the group, citing the gradual economic recovery and better employment trends as reasons for her reserved rosiness. One name she continues to endorse enthusiastically is Cayman Islands–based Herbalife, seller of weight management, healthy snack and other nutritional products. Since 2012 she has been bullish, restating her position as recently as this March. Management should be able to execute on the changes it has made to its business globally, and the retailer’s cash flow and liquidity are solid, Adler advised. As of mid-September, Herbalife’s shares had soared 86.6 percent, to $56.79, while the broad market fell 10.1 percent.