FFB helping Brits to tap into US own label Buoyed by export successes gained on the back of the strong dollar, Food from Britain this week unveiled a new initiative to help UK food and drink suppliers assault North America's fast expanding own label market. Nearly 30 UK firms exhibited at the 46th annual Summer Fancy Food Show here, and scores of others hit Manhattan for the specialist fair regarded as "Uncle Sam's answer to Anuga". But as the US food industry continues its love affair with British food and drink, FFB is targeting the premium private label sector in the US as a further area for growth. Simon Waring, FFB's international marketing director, and Steve Dawson, president of Food from Britain North America announced plans for a UK pavilion at next November's Private Label Show in Chicago, backed by a multimedia web site for US buyers containing a database of specialist UK suppliers. In the three months before the show, FFB will present the British message to all major supermarket, mass merchandiser, drug store and foodservice groups in the US, starting with Kroger, the largest retailer. Dawson told The Grocer: "The potential is enormous. At the moment, despite an $85bn sales value, private label only accounts for about 17% of total food sales in the US, compared with 44% in the UK. But more and more US chains are committed to realising a larger proportion of their business from Private label. Kroger, for example wants 30% of its sales in this form, and that means a $15bn incremental sales opportunity." Food from Britain's enthusiasm was boosted by the news that earlier UK sales in the US had received a fillip between January and March with exports up by 25% to $273m compared to the same period in 1999. In 1999, we exported $1.3bn of food and drink to the US, up 10% on 1998, making the world's biggest economy the third largest export market for British food and drink. {{NEWS }}