ISM confirms return to traditional show dates from January 2024

The organisers of ISM global confectionery event in Cologne have confirmed that it is set to return to its traditional January dates from 2024, after successfully concluded its latest edition this week, reports Neill Barston.

As previously reported, the global sweets and snacks showcase had been delayed this year due to ongoing concerns over significant rises in energy costs, ingredients inflation and supply chain issues linked to the ongoing war in Ukraine, which prompted the decision to place it in a Spring date, as a one-off condensed trade fair combined with ProSweets (See our exclusive video review here).

Confectionery Production spoke to a broad range of businesses across the show (you can see our extended coverage in the next edition of the magazine), with companies welcoming the chance to return to Cologne for ISM, despite the April date being some distance beyond typical buying schedules for the sector.

Notably, this year’s show, which covered the complete range of fine sweet and savoury treats was set within around 100,000 square metres of space at its traditional Koelnmesse location.

After the re-start edition last year, 1,274 exhibitors from 71 countries presented current trends and new products. In total, the trade fair duo attracted more than 25,000 visitors from 135 countries.The international share of visitors from the trade was 72 percent and at 88 percent the foreign share of industry visitors was very high.

As ISM noted, the 2023 edition placed a strong focus on addressing the challenges the industry is currently faced with and on the joint development of solutions. “We are delighted that ISM was able to set a strong signal in spite of the one-off postponement of the event from the January to the April. The positive figures, particularly with regards to the number of visitors, show that we are in a position to offer an outstanding trade fair of unique quality and internationality even under these difficult conditions,” Gerald Böse, President and Chief Executive Officer of Koelnmesse GmbH, emphasised.

“The fact that exhibitors and visitors from the whole world flocked to Cologne on this unaccustomed date by way of exception, underlines the outstanding significance of this trade fair for the global sweets and snacks industry. The quality of the business contacts was very high. This was confirmed by representatives from both the industry and the trade,” Bastian Fassin, Chairman of International Sweets and Biscuits Fair Task Force (AISM), added. The AISM is the partner and industry sponsor of ISM.

Significantly, at 72 percent, the share of international trade visitors was customarily high. The European countries with the strongest participations this year were the Netherlands, Great Britain and Belgium. Growth was particularly registered in the number of visitors from Italy. Outside of Europe, the trade visitors primarily came from the USA, Korea and Israel.

The Lab5 by ISM in Hall 5.2, the industry’s new “place to be” was a special highlight. Here, the visitors were able to discover new products in special sections such as the Start-up Area or the Trend Snacks Area, examine the innovations of the companies participating in the “New Product Showcase” special event and raise their glasses to an inspiring trade fair visit at the Lab5 Bar accompanied by nice music.

New products and trends
It was very apparent at ISM: Regarding their sweets and snacks more and more consumers are placing importance on healthy and natural ingredients. Plant-based products and ingredients are still booming, which is reflected at ISM by creative ideas for enriching foodstuffs with fibres. The focus is being placed more and more on exotic aromas. New flavours like Smoky Tandoori, Bloody Mary or Mussels in White Wine are to increasingly conquer the market.

ISM awards recognise talent
The three most innovative products were distinguished with the Product Showcase Award on the first day of the trade fair. First place went to the company tri d’Aix GmbH from Germany with its “sweet sugar-free candy floss”. CAL Marketing Pty. Ltd. from Australia was delighted at coming second with “Brown Sugar Boba Milk Tea Mochi”. World’s Coconut Trading SL claimed third place with “Purple Sweet Potato Chips BBQ” from Spain.

ISM awards – Bastian Fassin (Vorsitzender AISM), Majlen Fazer (Fazer Group), Gerald Böse at KölnSKY. Pic: ISM

Majlen Fazer, Senior Specialist in Product Quality, Cocoa and Chocolate at the largest Finnish food group, Fazer, is the winner of this year’s ISM Award. The largest and most important trade fair for sweets and snacks worldwide paid tribute to her commitment for more sustainability in the sweets and snacks industry during the ISM Dinner.

The ISM Consumer Award 2023 was conferred for the first time on the last day of the trade fair. The most popular item among all of the products submitted to the New Product Showcase was determined in a consumer voting on Instagram in cooperation with Foodnewsgermany. The ISM Consumer Award went to the company Mitsuba from the Netherlands for its Street Food Mix – a Japanese/Asiatic snack with an astounding taste.


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