Dozens of UK businesses set to join ISM 50th anniversary celebrations

With ISM set to open its doors this weekend, Neill Barston speaks to some of the key UK businesses at the event in Cologne Germany 

A diverse mix of more than 90 British businesses will be taking part in this year’s ISM in Cologne next month.
From small-scale confectioners, to well-established medium and large-sized enterprises, a large number of product launches are anticipated as the event marks its 50th anniversary.

William Whitaker, managing director of Whitakers chocolate, explained that while the past year had posed its challenges with market conditions, he noted the business had worked hard on rebranding and extending its range ahead of ISM.
Speaking to Confectionery Production, he said: “ISM is extremely important for us, as it’s the one place you know that everyone will be there, which is especially businesses from the UK. If they don’t actually come and see you on the stand, they’re aware of your presence.

“We’ve done a lot of work on our retail branding over the past 18 months, as well as wider brand development. We are moving towards our 130th birthday now, which has prompted us to look at how we are approaching our business.”
For this year’s event he added that one of its major product focuses would be its new foiled chocolate hearts.
Another major factor potentially affecting the business has been the issue of Brexit, which he was relieved had now seemingly been resolved with a newly appointed government pushing forward its move to leave the EU at the end of January.

“The situation with Brexit now means there is less uncertainty and it allows businesses to make decisions and stick with them.”
Sheffield-base Simpkins sweets will also be among those returning to the event. Managing director Adrian Simpkin, said there had been plenty of activity at the business as it prepares to mark its centenary.

He said: “Simpkins is proud to be exhibiting for the 50th consecutive year at ISM. Many things have changed over the years in the confectionery world, but our products are still manufactured by traditional methods and recipes using only the finest all-natural ingredients as we gear up for our 100th Anniversary. 2020 will see a new range of Pure Dark chocolate centred confections hit the shelves as well as an increased sugar and Gluten free range of travel sweets. We are also reintroducing the Market Place of the Smith Kendons brand of travel sweets.”

Meanwhile, Blair Paterson, managing director of Scottish-based confectionery firm Mrs Tilly’s, also reported that the business had enjoyed positive results during the last year.

He said: “Despite the many challenges facing the industry our sales have continued to grow in both branded and own label products. We’ve delivered some exciting NPD in the form our Tablet Coated Popcorn and we created some new fudge formats that have launched into the USA recently – and we’re confident these will do well.”

Paterson added: “This year we will be showcasing the new additions to our ranges at ISM 2020.  “We’ve always found the show to be an excellent platform to not only present ourselves and our capabilities to a new audience, but also to spend some time with many of our existing customers discussing current trading and planning for the future.”

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