A total of 58 food and drinks companies have been named in the London Stock Exchange’s list of 100 Companies to Inspire Britain - a drop from the sector’s presence in last year’s report.

The LSE called the sector, worth £21.9bn a year to the UK economy, one of the UK’s “most innovative sectors” bringing 16,000 new products to market and investing £1bn in innovation every year.

Amongst the 58 high growth SME food and drink companies the report picked out are drinks mixer maker FeverTree, soft drinks supplier Belvoir Fruit Farms, ready meals manufacturer Charlie Bigham’s and snacks firm Pipers Crisp Co.

The overall growth of all the companies included the list is increasing, but other sectors are expanding faster than food and drink.

In last year’s report the average growth rate from 2011 to 2015 was 50%, which has increased to 70% from 2012 to 2016 in this year’s report.

Real Estate was the fastest growing sector with an average annual revenue growth rate of more than 100%, closely followed by Engineering and Construction at 91%. Companies operating in engineering and construction, financial services and marketing and advertising all grew at an average of more than 90% per year.

The growth rate of food and drink firms was not split out, but the number of food and drink firms included in the list fell by more than 20% from 74 to this year’s figure of 58.

The number of retailers in the list has overtaken food and drink, which the report says is “indicative of resilient consumer spending”, having been 56 last year and rising to 63 in the 2017 report.

Retailers in the list include cycling clothing outlet Rapha, furniture retailer Loaf and bathroom specialist Victorian Plumbing.

Over half of the 1000 companies came from outside of the South East, with 35% located in the “Northern Powerhouse” and “Midlands Engine” regions.

Xavier Rolet, CEO, London Stock Exchange Group commented: “Four years on, LSEG’s ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain’ report continues to highlight the dynamic, entrepreneurial and ambitious businesses across the country that are boosting UK productivity, driving economic growth and creating jobs.

“The strength and diversity of these companies is readily apparent with a broad mix of UK regions and sectors represented. These companies are the very heart of an ‘anti-fragile’ economy: more robust; more flexible and less prone to boom and bust. We must ensure we continue doing all we can to support high growth potential businesses like these.”

Other food and drink firms included in the report include Brewdog, speciality baker Bread Holdings, English Winemaker Chapel Down, pie brand Higgidy, takeaway service Just Eat and drinks maker Belvoir Fruit Farms.