More UK food and drink companies than ever are expected to attend this year's Sial exhibition in Paris in the hope of exporting their way out of the economic gloom.

More than 120 UK businesses have signed up to exhibit at this year's food and drink show, which runs from 17-21 October. The previous event in 2008 saw 107 UK firms take part.

Exhibitors this year range from heavyweight producers such as Birds Eye to family companies It's Only Natural and Ahmad Tea, which is launching its Castle range of teas inspired by British landmarks.

The UK's food and drink exports are now higher than before the credit crunch. They rose 19% to £14bn between 2007 and 2009, according to IMF figures, despite world trade falling over the period.