Nestlé has beaten market expectations for first-quarter sales, reporting a 7.2% jump in like-for-likes.

The Swiss food giant grew global sales to £21.4bn, boosted by 13% growth in emerging markets and price increases in developed markets.

Analysts said the growth was ahead of market expectations and included some notable positives, including the best quarter of growth for the company’s water business since the second quarter of 2007.

But much of the growth came from higher pricing rather than volume growth. Bernstein’s Andrew Wood said volume growth was below consensus estimates and in the Americas it was negative for the first time in many years. 

In the UK, Nestlé gave a subdued assessment of the market.

“Household budgets continue to be squeezed with the outlook for 2012 remaining challenging,” said UK & Ireland boss Paul Grimwood.

“However, we are pleased with the progress made in the UK and Ireland in the first quarter of this year, with value growth in confectionery, beverages and food.”