ISM and ProSweets major trade fairs cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic

Organisers of the ISM and ProSweets, Koelnmesse, have confirmed that the two major confectionery trade fairs are cancelled for 2021 in Cologne, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, reports Neill Barston

The parallel sector showcases were due to be staged between 31 January and 3 February, but as Germany has faced a month-long lockdown during November, amid a rising number of covid-19 cases, the parallel events were no longer considered possible.

Gerald Böse, president and Chief Executive Officer of Koelnmesse explained that the situation was further complicated by international travel restrictions, and said that it was a move that was made with ‘deep regret’, and had been done in close collaboration with the industry.

Moves had been put in place for a smaller event staged over roughly half the floor space of the original plans, with organisers putting in additional hygiene and safety measures in response to the situation. There had been a growing sense of optimism within the industry that the development of covid vaccines that are anticipated to be rolled-out early next year would have a positive impact, but these have yet to be finalised.

Confectionery Production covered the 50th anniversary events earlier this year in Germany, which were staged just as the pandemic began to take hold, and had impacted on visitor numbers from China, where covid-19 had been first identified.

Revised dates have been confirmed for the two events, which will next be staged between 30 January- 2 February 2022.

Böse said: “We deeply regret this of course. We were well-aligned and we firmly believed that we would be able to enable the sweets and snacks industry a re-start with ISM and ProSweets Cologne 2021.

“However, due to the current uncertainties our exhibitors and visitors don’t see any dramatic improvement that would make a trade fair participation possible in January. We will nevertheless remain on the ball and will immediately set about organising ISM and ProSweets Cologne 2022 with new energy.”

Notably, organisers confirmed that the planned digital format, Matchmaking365+, will also not be implemented, because a purely digital offer without a physical trade fair would not bring about the desired benefit for the exhibitors and visitors. In their role as important innovation platforms for the industry, the two trade fairs are instead planning a campaign for the presentation of significant industry developments, new products and trends from the sweets and snacks sectors.

“Trade fairs like ISM and ProSweets Cologne live from the variety of national and international industry experts, which is in turn what distinguishes the quality of the event. Due to the currently very dynamic infection situation and further cancellations on behalf of the exhibitors, we can no longer guarantee this quality and the recently announced steady number of registrations could no longer be held upright. We are naturally disappointed. However, it is now important to look ahead to the future positively with our customers. We in Cologne are still prepared to carry out our trade fairs with the highest safety and hygiene measures and are already looking forward to a new edition of ISM and ProSweets Cologne,” stressed Oliver Freser, Chief Operating Officer of Koelnmesse.

The International Sweets and Biscuits Fair Task Force (AISM) as the industry sponsor of ISM, added: “The sweets and snacks industry was optimistic that it would be able to really take off again with the aid of ISM 2021. As an international business platform, ISM has an essential significance for the industry regarding pushing business forward. However, due to the ongoing high numbers of infections and further lockdowns in many European countries, this decision was unfortunately unavoidable,” explained Bastian Fassin, Chairman of the AISM.

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