Koelnmesse chief operating officer Oliver Frese anticipates ISM and ProSweets
Cologne in Germany with the cathedral at sunset
Q: It’s now been two years now since we last saw ISM and ProSweets staged due to the pandemic, so how special will that make the 2022 edition of these events?
A: After two years of a compulsory break, we are very much looking forward to the trade fair duo, ISM and ProSweets Cologne 2022. Nothing replaces the personal contact and the sampling and testing of products like sweets and snacks. The special thing about the editions of ISM and ProSweets Cologne in 2022 will thus for us as a trade fair organiser be coming together live at eye level. This is also reflected by our exhibitors, as they too want to defy the pandemic and meet up with their business partners in person.
Q: The confectionery market, like many sectors, has experienced a testing time in Germany, so how significant will these shows be in helping revive the industry?
A: As the leading global trade fair for sweets and snacks and in particular in conjunction with the international supplier fair, ProSweets Cologne, ISM is the most important industry get-together of the year for our exhibitors. This is where the international buyers, who are so important for the business, meet up. We will definitely contribute towards the revival of our industry by offering our exhibitors and trade visitors in the form of the two fairs a central platform for trends, new products and ultimately business – and that at an international level.
Q: Will be there be a major overall theme for the two trade events, and how have initial preparations been going? A: There is not going to be an overriding theme or motto for the trade fairs. But of course, the focus lies on the current trends and new products. The preparations are going very well at the moment. The positive interim result of around 1,200 exhibitors for ISM shows that the industry is ready for the trade fair. The global trade fair for sweets and snacks covers seven halls in total and with exhibitors from 65 countries, including also companies from North Africa, South America and Asia, it is demonstrating its accustomed high level of internationality. With over 200 exhibitors, ProSweets Cologne is also well-aligned. Exhibitors have registered from over 20 countries. We are thus looking ahead to the end of January 2022 very optimistically.
Q: The 2022 shows will include hybrid online participation. How important do you believe this will be?
A: We invested a great deal of time last year in the development of additional digital solutions for our trade fairs and were already able to test these as purely digital and also hybrid formats, as at Anuga for example. ISM and ProSweets Cologne are also being staged in a hybrid format for the first time in 2022 and will offer a new digital platform for the exhibitors and trade visitors, namely ISM & ProSweets @home, as an enhancement to the physical event. Furthermore, the hybrid format will remain open for the exhibitors and visitors until 30 April 2022.
Q: What specific measures will you be putting in place to ensure health and safety given the ongoing pandemic? A: Our extensive and proven safety concept #B-SAFE4business as well as the CH3CK admission regulation procedure contribute towards the highest degree of safety and trade fair normality. The current Corona Protection Ordinance of the State of North Rhine Westphalia foresees no changes to these measures. The requirement for all attendees to be fully vaccinated, or have recovered from an infection within the last six months (but at least 28 days ago), or tested negative for Covid-19, applies throughout the trade fair grounds. Admission to the fairgrounds is exclusively possible via digital admission tickets and using the ProSweets Cologne or ISM app. Combined with the required recognised digital proof of full vaccination, testing or recovery, queues at the entrances will be avoided to a large extent. Attendees must also continue to wear a medical mask and maintain social distancing of 1.5 metres. The mask requirement has been removed at fixed seating and standing areas or when sampling food.
Q: Both ISM and ProSweets are renowned for their knowledge sessions. What can we expect this year? A: Definitely. One of the highlights of the ProSweets Cologne is for example the new Ingredients Event Zone. In addition to market-relevant trends and surveys, the trade visitors can also look forward to a knowledge hub here with presentations by Ingredients exhibitors on the latest product developments. Beyond this, the Packaging special event will place a particular focus on sustainable solutions, ie, resource saving, waste-avoiding, reusable packaging and digitalisation. At ISM the New Product Showcase will once again give insights into new products from exhibitors. On the Expert Stage, which is being used jointly with ProSweets, you can find out about the latest consumer and product trends first-hand. A further highlight also awaits trade visitors, namely the future congress “#CONNECT2030 in transition,” which is being jointly organised with ProSweets Cologne. Here, we will provide an overview of what will be possible in 2030 in panel discussions and lectures.
Q: A notable element of ISM has been its annual awards – how important are they? A: Both the ISM Award and the New Product Showcase Awards have a very high standing. The ISM Award has been conferred by ISM since 2014 for exceptional services to the sweets and snacks industry. The award is of international renown and also expresses our high esteem for a company and a personality in a special setting. In the scope of the New Product Showcase Awards, together with the exhibitors of both trade fairs, we pave the way for important trends in the sweets and snacks sector, which establish themselves within the industry in the subsequent years