The Cadbury brand is stronger than ever, according to a survey.

But the good news in the wake of June's salmonella scare may be premature with data based on the financial year ending April 23.

The report found confectionery sales soared fruit and vegetables suggesting we reward healthy living with unhealthy treats.

Cereal giant Kelloggs remains the biggest UK brand followed by beans and soup maker Heinz, the TNS Worldpanel study found.

Cadbury rose from fifth to third even though the salmonella row will cost £20 million.

Alcohol (#8.4 billion) is still the biggest market but growth is static and Stella Artois is the most popular brand.

Branding experts say consumers have developed a "credit-debit" approach to diet, rewarding healthy eating with wine or chocolate.

Edward Garner, research director of TNS Worldpanel, said: "The healthy eating messages are getting through and we are choosing more wholesome foods, but feel the need to then reward good behaviour with a treat, such as wine or chocolate."

The popularity of healthy foods is seen in the growth of Warburtons and Danone which posted sales growth of 17 and 21 per cent. These have benefited from promoting a wholesome image with Hovis and Flora, TNS said.

Craig Smith, editor of Marketing magazine which commissioned the research, said the success of bread brands is due to clever marketing.

The nine per cent growth in bread sales is "especially impressive given this rise comes in a staple food already bought by most households," he said.

Top ten brands: Kelloggs (£530-535 million sales); Heinz; Cadbury; Walkers; Birds Eye; Muller; Coca Cola; Warburtons; McVities; Stella Artois.