Food barons strike it rich

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THE KEY to serious wealth in recession-hit Britain is no longer in property, manufacturing or inherited riches. It is driven by hunger, thirst, and knowing when to sell up, writes Michael Durham.

Nine of the 20 richest men and women in Britain are now closely connected with the food trade, a newspaper survey of the biggest private fortunes states. Wealthy food barons have displaced the Duke of Westminster, according to 'Britain's Rich', the Sunday Times magazine's annual league table of personal fortune, published yesterday.

The Queen is still Britain's wealthiest individual - but only if she is assessed as Head of State. This fortune is estimated at pounds 5bn. Her own private wealth of about pounds 450m would place her 17th in the league.

The second richest family is that of Gad and Hans Rausing (pounds 4bn), Swedish makers of the Tetra Pak drinks carton. The Sainsbury family (pounds 3.4bn), is third and Garfield Weston, chairman of Associated British Foods, (pounds 2.1bn), is fourth.