Irish food and drink exports returned to growth in 2002, driven by meat and prepared foods, according to Bord Bia, Ireland's food board. Britain remained the key target for exports, representing 46% of a market worth E6.8bn .
Bord Bia said the largest growth in meat exports came from beef, which had enjoyed a 15% increase in demand in Britain combined with a decline in domestic production.
Despite tough trading conditions, Irish prepared food exports rose 10% on last year because of the continued popularity of convenience foods.
Ireland's beverages sector also reported increases, mainly attributable to the success of ready-to-drink products. Bord Bia predicted 2003 would bring continued growth in cream liqueurs, spirits, bottled water, sports and energy drinks with several brand extensions and launches.

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