After reviewing six funds - Select Sector SPDR-Consumer Staples (XLP),
Vanguard Consumer Staples Index Fund (VDC), PowerShares Dynamic Food and Beverage (PBJ),
PowerShares Dynamic Consumer Staples Sector (PSL), Rydex S&P Equal Weight Consumer Staples (RHS), and First Trust Consumer Staples AlphaDEX Fund (FXG) - Trainer concludes that XLP is "the only consumer staples sector ETF to rank better than the overall sector. Therefore, the only ETF we would recommend is XLP."
Essentially, Robert Goldsborough of Morningstar agrees with Trainer, in his SEEKING ALPHA post,"A Defensive Consumer Staples ETF For An Uncertain Economic Environment":
Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) is the lowest-priced and most liquid exchange-traded fund for broad exposure to a basket of defensive, mega-cap consumer discretionary names. As investors become increasingly concerned about potentially chilly economic winds ahead that could affect more discretionary consumer spending, they might want to consider this ETF, which holds the 41 consumer staples firms that are contained in the S&P 500 Index...
Investors seeking nondiscretionary exposure to the consumer have plenty of choices in the ETF world. In our view, the most similar alternative to XLP is the smaller and less liquid Vanguard Consumer Staples (VDC) (0.19% expense ratio). Even though XLP owns only 41 stocks versus the 108 companies that VDC holds, the two funds show performance that has been almost perfectly positively correlated over the past five years (99%).