The Brits are winning worldwide acclaim for innovation in convenience foods and next month they gain global exposure at Anuga. Despite foot and mouth, the outlook is excellent for exporters, believes Food from Britain Britain is boosting its presence at Anuga this year with more than 80 companies participating under the auspices of Food from Britain, a large contingent with the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland pavilions, plus many others exhibiting independently. FFB chief executive David McNair believes the outlook for British exporters at the show is excellent, despite the continuation of foot and mouth disease and food and drink export restrictions. McNair says: "Obviously, meat and dairy exports have fallen, but the market has been bolstered by strong sales of drinks, fish, cereals, sugar and, to a lesser extent, other grocery items such as soups and sauces." FFB's most recent export figures show a 5% upswing for food and drink (apart from meat and dairy), for the first quarter of this year. McNair believes that one reason for this positive performance is UK companies' high level of product innovation. "Last year we launched more new products than any other country. However, our consumers not only expect convenience and innovation, they also demand quality and authenticity. As a result, our recipe dish and convenience food manufacturers are now world leaders." FFB is putting a lot of effort into getting buyers to visit British stands. Buyers have been mailed with invitations and multilingual catalogues, while exhibitors' details are on FFB's website Ethnic food will be a big feature of the British presence. On its stand FFB is launching a market research study into ethnic food eating trends and plans to hold a seminar on the opportunities they present next month in Birmingham. Many exhibitors will demonstrate that the UK is a world leader in the development of ethnic ready meals and accompaniments. Among them, S&A Foods is launching a range of oriental meals for the European market, and G Costa & Co is making extensions to its Thai, Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese ranges. Developments include new doy packs in 240g family size for its four leading Chinese stir fry sauces: black bean, sweet & sour, Peking lemon and oyster & spring onion, and new Noodle Bowls in chicken & spring onion flavour and beef & black pepper for the snack market. For Thai dishes, it's introducing a new tinned 400ml coconut milk & sliced coconut, plus a range of rice & peanut crackers. In the ethnic accompaniments area will be Aunty G with its Holy Cow chutneys and Pride Valley Foods with an extensive range of naan, pitta, flour tortilla wraps, chapatti, khoubz, lavash and dipping breads. Exhibiting in an Egyptian-style tent, the company plans to develop sales for its long life products with European multiples. In the same market is Mayur Foods, featuring its naan breads, fresh from picking up business in Belgium and planning to build a production unit for increased capacity from overseas. Mission Foods' purpose in attending Anuga is to discuss the huge potential for tortillas and tortilla chips in the European market. Commercial director Neil Greig says that now these products are established, it is time to stretch consumers' perceptions of them and create innovative alternatives and flavours to increase consumption and eating occasions. "We are already working with a number of retailers and food manufacturers looking at blue sky projects to help grow their markets," says Greig. Others in the ethnic area include Imperial Snack Foods with re-sealable bags for its ethnic bagged snacks, nuts and fruits; First Quality Foods with its new range of falafel and hummous mixes; and CCL Foods which is targeting the German market with its Peppadew Sweet Piquante Peppers in a jar and loose for the deli. Anglia Oils presents its new international range of organic dressings in French, Italian, sun dried tomato and honey & mustard varieties, as well as its new tapenades and dipping oils. Commercial director Alan Preston says product development is focused on the increasing demand for Mediterranean and health-conscious foods. The Rayner Food Group says it will be using Anuga as a vehicle for forging new business relationships in Europe and further afield, particularly in the burgeoning organic foods sector. It is putting the spotlight on its Martlet Natural Foods range of organic chutney, vinegar, honey and conserves acquired by Rayner last year. Traditional British will be as strongly represented as ever. H. Forman & Son, one of the oldest fish smokers in London, is hoping to establish new sales outlets for its mild, smoked wild salmon and exotic fish, as is Stokes and Lindley Jones for its range of traditional grocery, drink and confectionery. Baxters of Speyside plans to introduce its growing range of soups, preserves, marmalades, chutneys, beetroot and other meal accompaniments, and the Billington Food Group wants to enhance its reputation as one of Europe's leading suppliers of organic and unrefined sugar. Walkers Shortbread will unveil a range of biscuits and liqueur cakes and Fairy Tale Chocolate Chip Shortbread which comes in gold packaging depicting seven European fairy tales. Walkers Butterscotch Shortbread Rings is another new product. For the luxury gift market the company is introducing three liqueur fruit cakes containing Drambuie, Cointreau, and Courvoisier Cognac. Ryvita is featuring its range of crispbreads, crackerbreads and Sunblest breakfast cereals and Natco will launch a range of mini jellies with fruit. In the show's dairy hall, Dairy Crest is featuring its huge range, as is North Downs Dairy Company which is launching speciality cheeses with interesting flavours. Drinks will be strongly represented by Belvoir Fruit Farms with its premium cordials and pressés; AG Barr with Irn Bru, Tizer and KA ranges; Calypso Soft Drinks with freeze pops and lollies; and Dinkum Products with milk shakes. New tropical flavour fruit drinks will be featured by Rubicon Products and Fontana Drinks is showing Powercell energy drink. The Packaged Ice Co will seek fresh outlets in Europe for its pre-packed ice-cubes and AP (East Anglia) will feature its frozen vegetables range. Finally, the Silver Crane Co will show how inventive British companies can be with a stunning range of embossed, shaped and filled tinware. {{FOCUS SPECIALS }}