British food and drink is going all out to make an international impression at Sial 2006, with more than 60 suppliers taking part. Many innovative UK producers looking to build and grow their global business have hitched their star to the British Pavilion in Hall 2, organised by Food from Britain (FFB).

The market development consultancy is aiming to create as many opportunities as possible for British companies to boost their profile and export value.

The pavilion offers a platform to demonstrate heritage, a reputation for quality and diversity and emphasise British suppliers' influence in leading some of the most important trends in the global food industry, such as convenience and ethnic foods, ready meals, and innovative drinks.

The arena provides a clearly defined area where distributors and retailers can survey what Britain has to offer in terms of innovation and quality. There is a restaurant and lounge, open from 8.30am every day, to provide a meeting point for British exhibitors looking to do business, and FFB will also be at hand to offer expertise.

Ireland heads the list of British food companies' export targets, where the market is growing at 8% year-on-year, followed by France, the US, Spain and Germany, but the fastest-growing markets are India and China. Exports of British food and drink totalled £9.6bn last year and are set to grow. Spirits lead the way but cereals, seafood, meat and hot beverages are showing strong growth.

Many British exhibitors will be using the show to introduce new products and the pavilion provides them with an opportunity to showcase these.

All of them will automatically be put forward for the Best New British Product Award, which will be announced at FFB's Exhibitors Welcome Reception on Sunday 22 October at 6pm.

Sandra Sullivan, FFB's head of exhibitions and events, said: "Our producers are widely acknowledged as being the most creative at following market trends. This can be a new form of packaging, increasing convenience or a new concept."

Entries include Mangajo Drinks' pomegranate and green tea, Rajah single ­portions curry sauce sachets in five flavours and Waterfront's soya fruit and chocolate smoothies in ­ambient packs.

The British contingent spans dairy products, soft and alcoholic drinks, ambient groceries and frozen foods and there are several Sial debutants among the line-up, including companies such as Buxton Foods, Honeytop Foods, Olives et Al and ­Tyrrells crisps.n