ISM and ProSweets open with key new confectionery lines and systems
ISM and ProSweets opened their doors in Cologne today, with the global industry re-assembling after a two year pandemic-enforced break, writes Neill Barston.
While visitor numbers were clearly impacted by the ongoing pandemic situation – that is presently affecting Germany, where 200,000 cases per day of covid were recorded on January 27, many exhibitors remained hopeful the key industry events would prove fruitful.
Uncertainty has continued to surround whether the two major events would proceed in light of other industry events being postponed or cancelled within the country early in the early part of this year, but organisers Koelnmesse remained committed to its staging.
As previously reported by Confectionery Production, a total of 213 businesses were confirmed as exhibiting at ProSweets, and 1,085 for ISM from a total of 56 countries, including representation from the US, China, UAE (below) and across Europe.
The UK’s ISM pavilion had originally appeared to have been prevented from going ahead due to a travel ban imposed on the UK before Christmas, but its swift removal in the New Year, saw its plans revived – though with a consequently much-reduced contingent.
Speaking on the pavilion’s, return, Sandra Sullivan (below), director of PS8, and event manager for the Food and Drink Exporters Association, welcomed the return of ISM.
She said: “Who would have thought two years ago that it would take us two years to be back again, but for us it’s great. We’ve been coming here for many years. In 2020, we were here with 85 companies, showing how important ISM is to the trade. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to come last year, and are returning this year with a much-reduced presence, really because of the UK travel ban, which meant a lot of UK companies had to pull out, which was so disappointing for them and us.
“But I am pleased to say that we still have five companies here that reflect different kinds of products, private label healthy snacks, high quality biscuits, vegan marshmallows and ice pops, as well as export wholesale set-up, so there’s a good mix of companies, and we’re very pleased to be back here, as I think it’s one of the most important trade shows.”
She added that the UK had been traditionally extremely strong in the areas covered by ISM, with Britain having a high level of traditional manufacturers, which is a segment that has shown a good deal of resilience despite pandemic conditions.
Within ProSweets, which remains primarily based within Hall 10.1 of the Koelnmesse venue, there appeared a generally optimistic mood among exhibitors, despite the pandemic-related absence this year of larger businesses including the likes of Schubert, Buhler, Ishida and Aasted.
UK-based Baker Perkins equipment unveiled its latest starch-free depositing system at the event, which met with a reportedly encouraging response from show visitors.
Speaking to Confectionery Production, Cameron Gilchrist, said: “It’s really good to be back after a two year absence. I feel like we haven’t seen the world in a really long time. It’s an opportunity to re-engage with customers we haven’t seen in a long time and we’re really excited about it. There’s a high amount of importance regarding the show.
“The world has changed in the past two years with technology with things like Teams calls, but being in a single location to sit down with customers around machinery is great, and more relaxed.”
For its part, Italian-based packaging equipment business Sacmi confirmed that its order book had been strong for the past year, and in spite of not being able to exhibit machinery on its stand, there was an encouraging level of enquiries.
Another firm expressing hope for a strong show was Netherlands-base Caotech, which added that the business had continued its machinery development during the past two years, despite the ongoing coronavirus situation.