British food suppliers will be showing off their wares to the numerous buyers expected to attend IFE07, and trade export body Food from Britain will be doing its bit to help them.

The FFB team will be hosting a business lounge for overseas buyers looking to source food from Britain, and has worked with English Regional Food Groups to bring together food and drink suppliers for the exhibition.

"Our international buyers' lounge at this year's show will provide the catalyst for

business generation and is part of our role to ensure British exhibitors maximise their business opportunities," says David McNair, FFB's chief executive.

FFB, along with UK Trade & Investment, has also invited specific buyers from Canada,

China, Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates to the event.

In addition to visiting the show, there will be a 'meet the buyer' event that will help match UK suppliers with appropriate overseas buyers. Suppliers will also be able to network with buyers at an all-British trade dinner on Sunday 18 March.

"This year FFB is forecasting a higher level of food and drink exports than ever before. Through our presence at IFE07 we aim to meet the increasing demands from international buyers looking to the UK for its innovation, added value and convenience retailing expertise," says McNair.

For the first time at the event, FFB will be working with Sainsbury's to host a British supplier scouting scheme called Supply Something New. Small suppliers who offer innovative products will be able to present them to a panel of Sainsbury's personnel. After their presentation suppliers will be given feedback and could potentially get new listings, says the retailer.

About 150 British suppliers will be featured in the Speciality & Regional Food from Britain area, as well as national pavilions from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Suppliers will be exhibiting their goods

under a number of regional banners including Tastes of Anglia, South East Food Group Partnership, Heart of England Fine Foods, South West Food and Drink, Deliciously Yorkshire, Northumbria Larder, North West Fine Foods and East Midlands Fine Foods.

Rachel Kitto, trade development executive for Heart of England Fine Foods (HEFF), says the exhibition packages offer fantastic value to regional suppliers, particularly those who haven't attended an event on this scale before.

"We ensure all exhibitors enjoy a steady stream of visitors by publicising HEFF's presence in the media and by encouraging key industry contacts to visit us and experience a little of what the Heart of England has to

offer," she explains.

The Speciality & Regional Food from Britain section of IFE07 covers a considerable area of the show. Event organisers say 6,344 of the visitors who attended IFE05 had a specific interest in sourcing speciality and regional foods, and 9,632 were particularly interested in delicatessen and fine foods, so suppliers in this segment should be geared up for plenty of activity.

This year independent small suppliers and speciality food suppliers will include: Today Was Fun, a supplier of speciality teas; gourmet ice cream supplier Minghella Isle of White; and Belvoir Fruit Farms. Another fine food exhibitor will be Deli-cious Fine Food, which will be displaying its range of balsamic vinegars, dried herb bruschetta and pesto mixes and fruit mustards.

Cheese and fine food retailer Paxton & Whitfield will launch a range of handmade preserves and chutneys at IFE. The line-up, which is all sourced from artisan suppliers in the UK, includes Old Yorkshire Chutney,

Caramelised Onion Chutney, Rich Plum Chutney and Really Proper Piccalilli. Sweet

variants include Traditional Damson Jam,

Seville Orange Marmalade and Strawberry Jam. The preserves are made in small batches using the finest locally sourced UK ingredients and are based on traditional recipes, says the company.n