Final countdown to ISM and ProSweets events in Cologne

Stand: fitmeals, New Snacks, Halle 5.2

As ISM and ProSweets fast approach this weekend, Neill Barston speaks exclusively to Anne Schumacher, vice president Trade Fair Management Koelnmesse about the two major industry fairs that will set the pace for 2019’s confectionery sector


Anne Schumacher

Q: With over 1,600 exhibitors last year, what makes ISM such a special fair in your view?

A: ISM has again grown dynamically in numbers of exhibitors and visitors as well as space recently. That confirms our outstanding position in the industry. At ISM, the trade fair segments cover the entire market for sweets and snacks and offer a global overview. ISM is tailor-made to suit our visitors’ needs and those of the trade. That means, exclusively end products destined for sale in retail outlets are presented at the fair. In doing so, visitors can find a high quality of products as well as high quality contact persons, because even the CEOs of the exhibiting companies are available onsite. In addition, ISM offers a great mixture of established companies from all over the world and young start-ups that bring new innovative ideas to the fair. ISM is setting trends and providing new ideas for the sweets and snacks industry. This is the only place where you can get a complete overview of all the developments of the industry, the market action and your competitors‘ activities. Last but not least, ISM presents the world’s largest offer of private label products in the sweets and snacks industry.

Q: The ISM and ProSweets Cologne events have now been held together successfully on a couple of occasions – how do they most benefit each other?

A: For ISM exhibitors, it is a great advantage that ProSweets Cologne takes place at the same time, as they can get information on the latest developments in technology, packaging and ingredients in the sweets and snacks industry. Vice versa, ProSweets Cologne exhibitors can meet over 1,600 potential customers in order to promote their products. Trade fair visitors can visit both fairs and can expect high quality contacts. Since both fairs take place at the same time and the entire sweets and snack industry is onsite, there is a lot time for intense conversations. Together, the events cover the entire value chain of sweets production and sales under one roof. The entire focus of both fairs is set on the sweets and snacks industry featuring big, medium and small local suppliers, which makes it a unique platform globally.

Q: What are the most significant challenges in staging these events?

A: There are many needs to be met when organising such fairs. Whether it is the positioning of an exhibitor booth or certain requirements for food such as Halal, we always try to fulfil the needs of our audience and clients. We also try to consider the cultural background of our visitors and exhibitors. For example, we offer prayer rooms for different religions. We aim to make people from all over the world feel comfortable, so they can get the most out of attending our exhibitions.

Q: One of the major areas of industry focus has been the Internet of Things and industry 4.0 equipment – how significant is this set to be for ProSweets Cologne?

A: These topics are definitely relevant for the sweets and snacks industry. Our exhibitors focus on technical solutions of predictive maintenance and smart factory including self-sufficient production modules. Digitalisation of food processing, automation and intelligent processing, sustainable packaging, new measurement methods, 3D printing and energy-saving production are currently the most relevant topics of the industry. The wide range of innovations and new products with respect to these trends and topics will be presented at ProSweets Cologne.

Q: Will there be a specific overall theme for this year’s special speakers events and breakout sessions at ISM?

A: The ISM motto is called “The future and heart of sweets and snacks” but for special events and sessions during the fair, we always try to cover all relevant topics that are currently discussed in the industry. So, there is no specific overall theme.

Q: On a personal level, what do you enjoy most about being involved in ISM and ProSweets?

What I like most about working in the exhibition industry is the fact that no year is similar to the previous one, and no exhibition is exactly like it was the year before, as they represent the developments of the industry. So, what I enjoy most about ISM and ProSweets Cologne is that I can expect to find new products, meet new exhibitors and in general that I’ll get a glance of the developments of the industry.

Q: Of all the events you have witnessed, has there been one show that stood out as the most memorable? If so, why?

I have seen many very interesting events over the years, each in their own way. The ones that stood out were the ones that managed to combine the opportunity to do business with possibilities to learn more about the industry, but at the same time had a fun factor, an element of experience that resonates even after the visit and inspires to further develop one’s business and product.

Q: For future events, how do you look to improve the experience for visitors?

A: For the upcoming fairs ISM and ProSweets Cologne, we do not just want to be a pure product show but also an exciting event with live experiences such as tastings or cooking shows. In addition, we always try to find the right mix of products, innovation and healthy trends, and expert talks. Since we all know how exhausting trade fair visits can be, we also offer spaces such as plazas within the fair where people can get some rest and relax. As a new feature, the “Trend Snacks” hospitality outlet in hall 5.2 picks up on the healthy food trend depicted in the “New Snacks Area” in the same hall, and offers salads, mueslis, vegetable bars and other healthy delicacies for the hungry visitor.

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