Food and drink manufacturing is thriving, despite some uncertainty about the state of the economy, according to a survey by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF).
The business confidence survey of FDF member firms last month reported strong performance in the third quarter of 2010. Almost 60% of respondents recorded increased sales, while only 15% reported a fall. More than half expected their sales to keep growing to the end of the year.
Firms said they had managed to keep a lid on price rises in the third quarter of 2010. However, with most firms reporting continuing rises in the costs of commodities and ingredients, 64% were expecting to put up prices by the end of the year.
Although few companies were optimistic about the general business environment, most were either maintaining or increasing their investment in facilities, research and staff.
One-third had launched new lines in the third quarter and 44% expect to have launched products by the end of the year.
FDF director of competitiveness, Angela Coleshill said: "Continued uncertainty over the performance of the UK economy means that members remain cautious, but they have not cut their investment in physical and human resources or delayed taking products to market. Overall it's an encouraging outlook for the UK's largest manufacturing sector."
The survey was completed by companies with combined turnover of £8.3bn and employing 47,000 people.