The Regional Food Group Alliance has promised to "fill the void" left by the demise of Food from Britain in promoting the interests of English producers.

Members of the Alliance, made up of the eight English Regional Food Groups, met at this week's Food & Drink World exhibition to discuss what would succeed FFB when it disbands in April 2009.

"The Alliance can, and will, fill the void," said Alliance Chairman John Sheaves. "We are already developing our strategy moving forward."

Sheaves conceded, however, that a lack of funding meant it would be difficult for the Alliance to continue the work of FFB in promoting English produce overseas, adding that this responsibility remained "up for grabs".

Suppliers at the exhibition in Birmingham were furious at the loss of FFB's "invaluable" services.

Maria Hellyer, accounts director of The British Curry Company, which exports to both Canada and the USA, said the decision was "devastating for small manufacturers".

"We are an island nation. We have to export to survive yet the very organisation that facilitates this is being cut. All of their knowledge and expertise will be lost and staff will lose their jobs," she said.