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Food and drink manufacturers report strong growth at home and abroad

Food and drink manufacturing is still reporting strong growth in both the UK and export markets. But despite many companies planning new investment during the year, there are still concerns about the state of the economy for 2011.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Food and drink manufacturers report strong growth at home and abroad

Food and drink manufacturing is still reporting strong growth in both the UK and export markets. But despite many companies planning new investment during the year, there are still concerns about the state of the economy for 2011.

The latest Food and Drink Federation business confidence survey (Quarter four Oct-Dec 2010) has shown a generally positive picture with sales up at the end of last year and expected to continue to increase during 2011. Levels of short term expenditure by companies increased marginally at the end of last year but there is more optimism for the remainder of this year with 39% expecting to increase levels of expenditure in 2011 compared to 2010.

Earlier warnings of price increases have come to fruition with 82% of respondents expecting rises during early 2011 in response to increasing costs of commodities such as wheat, corn and cocoa. At the end of last year manufacturers warned that they could not continue to absorb increases that had been passed down the supply chain and which they had attempted to contain since last year.

However the general level of business optimism was down on the survey's quarter three figures with 30% reporting concern for 2011 following autumn's Government economic spending review.

FDF's Director of HR and Competitiveness Angela Coleshill says: “Food and drink is a British success story. Despite challenging economic conditions food and drink businesses are continuing to invest for the future and employ staff, as a result of good sales at home and abroad. As the UK's largest manufacturing sector the Government must put food and drink at the heart of its strategy for economic recovery through growth."

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