The BRICs are keeping the world's economic house in order.

Last week, the OECD lifted its forecast for global economic growth in 2010, on the back of growing world trade, which is being driven by surging demand in emerging markets.

The OECD raised its GDP forecasts for China and India, as well as for Brazil and Russia, and said emerging markets were helping the developed world move out of recession.

Risks to global recovery remain, the OECD warned, not least the prospect of overheating in some developing countries but the data emphasised the importance of emerging markets to global growth - and the potential for investors.

Among its figures, the OECD forecast that Brazil's GDP would rise 6.5% this year and by 5% in 2011. Brasil Foods, the company created after local food makers Perdigao and Sadia agreed to merge last year, is one company hoping to benefit from that buoyant growth, its CFO told us last week.

Brazil's growing wealth is attracting increasing multinational investment in the grocery sector (witness recent announcements from Carrefour, Wal-Mart, food ingredients giant Tereos and chocolate maker Barry Callebaut) but is also seeing the rapid expansion of domestic food giants, like Brasil Foods.

In May's just-food interview, published on Friday (28 May), Brasil Foods CFO Leopoldo Saboya said the company is looking to capitalise on the growing middle-class in Brazil. "The number of consumers in the middle income brackets is really growing. More than 3m people are adding to that category each year. They are what we call the 'new consumers' in Brazil," he said.

Food makers and retailers at home and abroad will be watching Brazil's growth with increasing interest.

One company that has little emerging-market exposure but which is keen to expand to revitalise growth is Tate & Lyle. Last week, new chief executive Javed Ahmed outlined his plans for the UK group and the former Reckitt Benckiser executive wants to increase Tate & Lyle's focus on "value-added" ingredients and on emerging markets.

With the exception of Vietnam, Tate & Lyle has a very small presence in developing markets. However, as Ahmed highlighted, the majority of its FMCG customers have invested in these regions and, like food ingredients rival Tereos, Tate & Lyle sees potential to get closer to its clients' new businesses.

Some in the City may question Tate & Lyle's plans to hang on to its historic sugar-refining operations in the UK - as one analyst remarked acerbically last week: "So, Plan A is to soldier on. Is there a Plan B, I wonder? A second runway for London City Airport? Riverside condos?" - but the company's bulk commodities operations will help finance the group's expansion.

By improving the company's execution and realigning its investment strategy, Ahmed believes that he can breathe fresh life into Tate & Lyle. But will his new strategy help the iconic sugar firm, which has struggled in recent years, hit a sweet spot?