Given that most Americans once believed British food should only be served in Hell, it was good to see so many of them licking their lips as their sample-carrying colonial cousins flew into New York this week. When 73 British firms braved the Manhattan heatwave for the 46th annual Summer Fancy Food Show Broadway's answer to Anuga and SIAL they got the warmest reception since the Duchess of York hit Madison Avenue. Nowadays, the megaburger guzzling, soda swigging, button bursting portly sons of Uncle Sam, who have long since proved obesity can be an artform, "just larv the whacky eats from the good ol' UK". And that, not forgetting the little issue of a 5% rise in the value of the dollar against the £, was why Food from Britain executives had smiles as wide as the Hudson River. For as anyone who's anyone in food and drink exporting knows by now, currency issues have put a dampener on most of our shipping efforts in recent years. Not so in the US, where some of our more entrepreneurial firms have quietly been doing very nicely thank you. Sufficiently flexible to cater for the more absurd appetites from Reno to Washington (would you believe Blue Stilton flavoured with blueberries?), they have picked up business on the other side of the Atlantic while other, less astute competitors, have struggled to earn an export crust in mainland Europe. But even with UK sales to the US up by 25% so far this year, there are many producers who are still not understanding the potential. And that's why Food from Britain is right to organise an assault on the fast growing North American premium own label market. The Big Boys, like Kroger and Safeway, are finally following our multiples down the own label route, so that offers our worldly wise suppliers the chance of serious extra business. Manhattan was a great place to be for UK exporters. But Food from Britain's big challenge is to persuade even more Brits to take a bite from the Big Apple. Clive Beddall, Editor {{OPINION }}