Three of the five fastest growing food and beverage categories in the global marketplace were beverages in 200, led overwhelmingly by Prepared Alcoholic Beverages according to a study released yesterday.

Water and drinking yogurts made up the other two beverages in market analysts AC Neilsen's What's hot Around the Globe - insights on Growth in Food and Beverages report.

However, despite the good growth by these three beverage categories, the report highlighted the struggle for other sectors, with only nine groups out of 90 reviewed registering growth by 10% or more in 2001.

"There has been quite a bit on innovation lately, particularly in the beverage sector," said Jane Perrin AC Neilsen's managing director of global services. "When we looked around the world, despite all the cultural differences that one would expect, certain types of products resonate with global consumers - products that are healthy, convenient and provide some excitement and innovation in their lives."

Consumers are still being attracted t what is new and, AC Neilsen said that true innovation had been found in the RTD category, which topped the list with growth of more than 30%.