ISM Middle East’s final preparations swiftly taking shape
Marked by a whirl of colour, dazzling displays and the hustle and bustle that accompanies a major global trade fair, there’s something special about the event now known as ISM Middle East, as Neill Barston finds speaking exclusively to show director Jan Philipp Hartmann
Having undergone a major rebranding as ISM Middle East last year, the show formerly known as Yummex is attracting significant interest from around the world. As its director enthuses, the move to re-position the identity of the show and underline its direct connection with the German-based Koelnmesse team as it organises events around the world, is a crucial one for its future development. (See our exclusive video preview here).
Indeed, this is a market that remains very much in the ascendency, with latest MENA region sales figures for confectionery, snacks and ready meals projected for 2023 at $34 billion, up by a combined rate of 3.3% from four years ago, showing sustained progress. Consequently, this year’s ISM Middle East is set to hone its focus on core areas including chocolate developments, desserts, snack foods, ice cream, fine bakery, and date palm product ranges.
Though the final figures have yet to be compiled, there will be over 300 exhibitors from a total of 40 countries represented across its three days at the Dubai World Trade Centre between 8-10 November.
Notably, some of its strongest features are returning, including the popular new product showcase, and ISM newcomer area that seeks to highlight the best emerging talents in the region. Moreover, one of the show’s most notable elements is in bringing together a broad collection of brands and organisations including Brazil’s Abicab trade group, Roshen confectionery, Trolli, Valeo Snacks, and the UK’s Walker’s Nonsuch, in addition to a wealth of local region businesses to create an eclectic melting pot of innovation.
“Preparations are at full speed for the event, and it’s going really well. We have been very successful with selling exhibition space this year, and we’re now focused on making the show the best we possibly can for everyone,” explains director Jan Philipp, who says that there’s a genuine sense of anticipation surrounding this year’s event. This is all the more so given the past two years of the pandemic, which saw the show revived last year for its official rebranding into the ISM group, to which it had always belonged.
As Jan Philipp notes, with exhibition space being up by 40% for the 2022 event, prospects for the fair are indeed looking exceptionally promising, despite wider economic uncertainty. “The rebranding of the event has been really important for us – the concept is similar to ISM in Cologne in that we focus on bringing the most important buyers and decision makers on the visitor side, together with exhibitors. Those who exhibit at the show prove that they’re able and capable of exporting to these regions, while those who visit are a perfect fit in terms of the products they are looking for,” adding that Dubai being a strong hub for confectionery and snacks sets the scene for an event attracting both a high quality of visitors and exhibitors.
As the show director adds, one of the key aspects for the continuing growth trend for snacks and confectionery in the market lies in its intriguing demographics. In particular, Dubai has worked hard on projecting itself as a centre of trade for a number of sectors, and has become famed for its young, outward looking population with a comparatively high level of disposable income. This has made it an attractive prospect for confectionery manufacturers, who are especially keen to engage with younger audiences, who form the strong core of their target market.
Jan Philipp adds: “There are many reasons the confectionery market is doing well in the Middle East – the population in the MENA region is growing, a young population, a big base between 14-35, who are wealthy, and are looking for premium products from the European market and US, as well as from Asia – where there are a large number of expats, who are looking for brands from home. This is a good combination of wealth, young people, and being open to the market for foreign products, and has helped make this the strongest region for growth within the industry.”
As Jan Philipp reveals, his own personal experiences in helping deliver the show since leading the project over the past three years continue to be an amazing experience. “In this role It’s been about developing the show strategically. We have been working with a partner in Dubai that has been doing a fantastic job, and it has been a heck of a ride so far. I am really excited for the future,” he says of the event, as momentum continues to gather for what should prove a very special show.”
- For further details on this year’s event taking place next week in Dubai, visit the official website.