Although GDP in the Netherlands grew 3.9% in volume last year, volume sales of food were virtually stable in 2000, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) reported yesterday. The general price level increased 3.1% last year, the highest growth since 1982.

Volume growth of average household spending, although still considerable at 3.7%, was slightly lower than in the previous two years. However, the Dutch food sector hardly profited from the general economic growth. Sales growth of food products kept pace with inflation, but volume sales were virtually stable, CBS said.

Dutch dairy, animal feed and meat producers are pessimistic about the development of production output in the first quarter of 2001, CBS further announced. Producers in other food sectors show a more positive outlook. Most producers expect further price increases. Exports are generally expected to stabilize. Dairy, beverages and tobacco producers are expecting higher exports, while meat and animal feed producers expect lower exports.

By Karel Beckman, correspondent