The food and beverage industry leads most others when it comes to weathering the economic downturn, with 49% saying their companies are “thriving and growing,” according toa recent surveyby consulting firm RSM McGladrey. The survey, conducted in the spring, reached 124 food and beverage company executives among its 1,061 respondents overall. Among the findings: 91% of the food and beverage respondents said they were very or somewhat optimistic about growth prospects, a rise of 20 percentage points from last year’s survey; food and beverage companies are more aggressive about introducing new products and analyzing customer/product profitability; and this year, 16% of food and beverage companies say they will invest $10 million or more in capital projects (up 10 percentage points from 2009).