A record number of British food and drinks companies are set to descend on a key trade show in Dubai to take advantage of the growing expatriate market in the Gulf, which has helped British exports to the region rise steadily over the past few years.A total of 33 British companies – more than double last year’s figures – will be displaying some of the country’s finest fare at Gulfood 2007 in Dubai under the guidance of market development consultancy Food from Britain (FFB), which once again will be hosting the British Pavilion.According to recent research conducted by FFB, more than 180,000 British people now live in the Gulf region, with food and drink exports to the area totalling more than £285 million in 2005.”The number of British companies willing to invest their time and money to take part in Gulfood 2007 demonstrates the strength of the export market in the region,” said Sandra Sullivan, Exhibitions Director at FFB.”With the rising numbers of expatriates and tourists choosing to live in and visit places such as UAE, and Dubai in particular, British food and drink producers are increasingly seeing the sales opportunities on offer.”Exhibiting at trade events like Gulfood gives companies the perfect opportunity to meet buyers and distributors, and we are delighted that so many high-quality British producers will be joining us at the British Pavilion this year,” added Sandra.With FFB staff on hand to provide export advice and explanations of key differences when targeting each country in the region, British exhibitors will be making the most of industry contacts at the show.FFB will also be hosting a Trade Development Visit for companies interested in learning more about what the Gulf can offer. The visit will comprise a market briefing, visits to retail and foodservice outlets, and a networking reception at the British Embassy in Dubai.Of the 33 British companies exhibiting at Gulfood 2007, many are returning following previous successful shows. Maria Hellyer, Sales Director at the British Curry Company, believes the Gulf is now a key market for the company’s goods, having secured listings in three major supermarkets following its participation in last year’s event.”Our success at Gulfood 2006 took us by surprise,” said Maria. “We were delighted by the three listings we negotiated, and are returning to the show this year to build brand awareness and hopefully pick up some more business.”Scottish salmon producer Gourmets Choice is another company returning to the event. Production Director Maurice Sutherland said: “Gulfood is a very well-run show. From our experience, the majority of visitors to the show are genuinely interested in developing new business relationships, and enquiries tend to bring results.”We’re looking forward to returning this year to cement the relationships we established last year, and hopefully further develop our business in the Gulf region, which is now an excellent area of growth.”FFB’s stand will be in Hall 2, number A2-1h. Potential importers and distributors are encouraged to come to the information point and make contact with the organisation’s team.