ISM 2023 dates pushed back amid major market challenges, leaving uncertainty over ProSweets event

Organisers of the ISM global confectionery and snacks trade show in Germany have confirmed it is to be pushed back until April 2023 amid what it cites as unprecedented supply chain, energy and consumer behaviour challenges, reports Neill Barston.

The decision to shift its traditional dates at the end of January each year, which Koelnmesse said had been made in consultation with key stakeholders, places uncertainty surrounding its parallel ProSweets equipment and systems event in Cologne, which is exploring whether it can also make a shift of several months.

However, the proposed revised dates for ISM between 23-25 April fall less than two weeks before the start of the global Interpack processing and packaging event, scheduled for 4-10 May 2023 in neighbouring Dusseldorf, with ProSweets said to be considering its options.

Germany’s confectionery trade association, the BDSI had recently warned of major tests facing the industry this year, including the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, which is impacting on supply chains, ingredients and energy prices. This in combination with the ongoing impacts from the pandemic has hit global markets significantly.

As Confectionery Production has previously reported, the timing of Interpack (held once every three years) and the annual ProSweets has been a source of debate for many within the industry, with a number of key businesses expressing concerns that staging the two events within the same calendar year had not been viable.

According to Koelnmesse, the decision to hold ISM in April 2023 is being made on a one-off basis, and is being taken in consideration of the wishes of its core sponsors. It said that preparations are progressing towards the revised date – which will now take place just after delayed plans for the debut ISM Japan show, which had been scheduled to take place last year, but will now be held in Tokyo between 12-14 April 2023.

Notably, as previously covered, uncertainty had clouded this year’s ISM and ProSweets due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with many industry observers concerned whether they would be able to proceed (See our exclusive video coverage reflecting on the event here).

However, both events eventually went ahead in January, with reduced exhibitor numbers and around a third of previous visitor levels due to the backdrop of the pandemic. Despite its reduced form, many visitors and exhibitors expressed to Confectionery Production that despite it being impacted by wider global circumstances, it had been a welcome experience to be back at a major event after two years of huge pandemic disruption.

In a statement, Koelnmesse said: “The entire confectionery industry is currently facing extreme challenges with dramatic cost explosions for raw materials, energy and logistics as well as an almost incalculable consumer behaviour, according to the associations. The industry now hopes that the difficult situation will calm down again and that there could then be significantly better planning certainty at the later trade show date in April 2023.

“The one-time postponement will also shorten the duration of the world’s largest trade fair for confectionery and snacks by one day for the 2023 edition. ProSweets Cologne, which is normally held in parallel, is examining the possibilities for implementation in April in consultation with the trade fair’s sponsors and will announce further details on this in due course.

“With the one-time date shift, we are meeting the wishes of the confectionery and snack industry and thus ensuring the greatest possible business opportunities for all companies and visitors involved. It is important to us to provide a fully comprehensive overview of the global market for the confectionery and snack industry and to ensure the usual high quality of exhibiting companies and international participating trade visitors,” explains Gerald Böse, Chief Executive Officer of Koelnmesse.

Beyond its core event in Germany, Koelnmesse has also staged a broad range of trade fairs with different sector-specific areas,  including Brazil, China, India, Japan, Columbia, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.

Confectionery Production has approached Koelnmesse and the BDSI for further comment on the story.


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