2 ASX dividend shares to beat inflation

Here are two ASX dividend shares that I think can help protect against inflation.

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After a decade of dormancy, inflation reared its ugly head as a major economic issue investors had to confront and deal with over 2021 and 2022. Whilst the decades-high levels of price rises that we saw in 2022 are receding, inflation still remains uncomfortably elevated – which is the main reason why interest rates also remain at decade-highs today.

So how should ASX investors approach this conundrum? After all, inflation eats into our wealth and our wages, and certainly throws a spanner or two into the investing mix.

Well, I think a good solution remains to invest in ASX dividend shares. The share market gives us the best shot at overcoming any economic malady to build wealth, whether that be inflation or deflation.

But that's only if you have the right shares of course. So today, let's discuss two ASX dividend shares that I think offer some of the best inflation protections on the stock market.

2 ASX dividend shares to hedge against inflation

Coles Group Ltd (ASX: COL)

First up is ASX 200 supermarket stock Coles. High-quality shares in the consumer staples sector are always going to have inherent inflation resistance built into their business models, thanks to the essential nature of the goods and services that they sell. In other words, these companies can increase prices in line with inflation without fear of a significant loss of sales. This label, in my opinion, applies to Coles.

This company's most recent earnings report was encouraging, showing Coles potentially snatching market share gains from its arch-rival Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW) over the second half of 2023.

Given Coles' ability to increase earnings over time, coupled with its fully-franked dividends, which have increased almost every year since 2018, I think this is a great stock to help protect a share portfolio against inflation.

Transurban Group (ASX: TCL)

It's not too often that a company's earnings are completely insulated from the corrosive effects of inflation. Yet we can say this about ASX 200 toll road operator and dividend share Transurban. Transurban has a huge portfolio of toll roads across North America, Brisbane, Melbourne and particularly Sydney. Most of these toll roads are arterial routes that are difficult to avoid for motorists.

The beauty of Transurban's business model is that it has decades-long contracts on these roads, most of which allow Transurban to increase its tolls quarterly by at least the rate of inflation (and often by 4% per annum if inflation is lower).

This provides an incredible amount of certainty for Transurban investors. Barring a major catastrophe resulting in huge traffic volume falls (the pandemic for example), Transurban arguably has one of the most reliable earnings bases on the ASX. And thus, one of the most reliable dividends.

These are all ingredients that combine to make Transurban a highly effective inflation hedge, and a company you'd be happy to have in your portfolio if high inflation persists.

Motley Fool contributor Sebastian Bowen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended Transurban Group. The Motley Fool Australia has positions in and has recommended Coles Group. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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