Scaled down ProSweets fair set to be held within the same halls as ISM event

Hallendurchblick, Impression von der ISM 2020, Halle 10.2

The organising team behind ProSweets equipment and systems trade fair has confirmed it is to be staged in a reduced format in January, within the same level halls as its parallel ISM confectionery event in Cologne, Germany, writes Neill Barston.

As Confectionery Production previously reported, Koelnmesse recently confirmed that exhibitors had expressed a strong preference for staging a physical event, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic causing industry concern over visitor numbers.

Consequently, organisers have noted that it is anticipated the two fairs are likely to be more European-focused than in previous years, given travel uncertainties from those based in markets outside of the EU.

The two events, which have traditionally been held on separate venue levels, are due to be held between 31 January and 3 February 2021, with a reported 77% of exhibition space for ISM having been allocated and additional health and safety measures being agreed in response to the covid crisis, which has seen Germany enter a month-long period of lockdown this month in a bid to contain the spread of the virus.

Among the measures announced by Koelnmesse are in creating a hybrid event with its Matchmaking 365 service aimed at encouraging visitors and exhibitors to arrange meetings in advance of the show, as well as providing a platform for efficiently planning time at the site in Cologne during the trade fair. Other specific moves include potentially altering outer area stand layouts to prevent crowds gathering (image below of how visitors will be managed), observing heightened hygiene precautions, and ensuring that air is extracted and 100% fresh ventilation is provided as an additional precautionary step.


Oliver Frese, Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of Koelnmesse, commented on the situation, conceding that exhibitor numbers had been notably affected for ProSweets, yet he believed that a hybrid event was achievable.

He said: “Special times require special measures with the aim of enabling both our exhibitors and visitors of ISM and ProSweets Cologne a safe and efficient as possible trade fair visit. Against the background of the current challenges and the related travel restrictions, we already know now that the trade fairs will not take place in their customary dimensions. The number of applications received for ISM is still very promising and reflects the interest of the majority of the exhibitors for the trade fair to also be staged in 2021.

“ProSweets Cologne has indeed recorded a strong decline in the number of exhibitors, but through the synergies with ISM still offers potential for both exhibitors and visitors. This is why together with the advisory board we have decided to bundle the spectrum of offers of the two trade fairs in the halls of ISM in the coming year and stage the two trade fairs as a re-start edition with a modified hall structure. This enables us on the one hand to exploit the synergies of both trade fairs even further and on the other to present the industry themes to our visitors in a more concentrated and focused manner.”

Revised structure

The restart edition of the ISM 2021 will be staged in Hall 4.2, together with the European country pavilions. Hall 5.2 will accommodate among others the Trend Snacks Area, the start-ups, the new “Finest creations – hand-crafted” speciality trade area and the trend areas “Sweet Trends by Innova Market Insights” and the Expert Stage. Halls 11.1 and 11.2 are planned for further exhibitors of the ISM and ProSweets Cologne will this year be found in Hall 10.2 together with the world’s leading trade fair for sweets and snacks. A separate food service area will also be set up in Hall 3.1.

As the industry sponsor, the International Sweets and Biscuits Fair Task Force (AISM) also agreed with that position, stating that “the industry is completely backing ISM and ProSweets Cologne as the most important international marketplace of the sweets and snacks industry,” noting that conditions would only permit a concentrated focus for the events that would involve limiting the flow of visitors.

Bastian Fassin, Chairman of the AISM, said: “We are convinced that we can cause a spirit of optimism with ISM and ProSweets Cologne 2021 and set a positive signal within the industry that trade fairs are possible under these conditions. The extensive hygiene and protection concept of Koelnmesse – #B-SAFE4business – which is unique in this comprehensive form contributes towards this. Furthermore, Koelnmesse’s Corona-compatible complete stand packages facilitate the preparation for the exhibitors and reduce the financial risk.”

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