UK Food and drink exports hit a record high in 2006 after British beef returned to overseas menus.

Exports rose 5.8% to £10.5bn beating the previous record of £10.1bn in 1996, according to Food from Britain.

The two star performing categories were drinks and meat. The total drinks market rose 7.4% to £3.74bn, boosted by whiskies, while meat exports, led by lamb, rose 4% to £764.6m. Beef sales rose 320.9% to £80.1m after a 10-year export ban was lifted last year.