Dozens of UK businesses gear-up for ISM’s major 2024 edition

A dynamic mix of UK confectionery companies are set to play their part in this year’s ISM global confectionery event, with a total of 67 businesses listed as part of the British contingent at the show in Cologne, reports Neill Barston.

The event, which takes place between 28-31 January in Germany, will include a total of more 1,400 companies (see our exclusive video preview with director Sabine Schommer here), as well as its new product showcase and industry-wide awards.

With the global confectionery market having reached over $185 billion in value globally by 2022, it is anticipated to be worth at least $230bn by 2028, according to analysis from

According to PS8, which has once again organised this year’s official UK pavilion, noted that while taste and enjoyment remain prime considerations for consumers, health and sustainability topics, and principles of environmental responsibility (ESG) are increasingly important to shoppers’ decision making, which will influence their choice of deciding to back brands.

For this year’s event, British companies include Up-Up, which is reportedly the first  chocolate to be certified by slavefreetrade, sourcing all its cocoa from a single farm in Colombia, who adhere to a single-estate origin approach and actively channel wealth back into the local community.

Among the brands returning to ISM for this year’s show will be Love Cocoa, led by James Cadbury, which has placed sustainability at its heart, with plastic-free, and carbon-negative production methods favoured by the business, as well as a dedication to ethical sourcing of its cacao (Hall 4.2, Stand H19).

Yorkshire’s Whitakers Chocolates, which recently among our audience at the 2023 edition of the World Confectionery Conference, will be  unveiling their latest creation: stem ginger encased in dark chocolate (Hall 4.2, Stand K21).

The well-regarded Candy Kittens brand, which has made waves with its vegan sweets is also set to make a welcome return to the show, with the brand having formed a successful production relationship with Germany’s Katjes confectionery (Hall 4.2, Stand K30-L30).

Fellow vegan business, Freedom Confectionery,  (pictured below at last year’s show) is also due at the event, showcasing its innovative free-from mallow series, that has enjoyed considerable traction within the industry, including gaining distribution in the US (Hall 4.2 J18).

Another familiar name at the show will be Kent’s Fudge Kitchen, which has continued to build its retail presence within the UK, offering a host of seasonal flavours that have made it a firm favourite within the category (Hall 4.2, stand K38).

As PS8 noted, gifting and casual gifting packs which make a premium and indulgent statement remain highly sought after, and British companies should be high on buyers list to source products which are affordable and offer exciting luxury gifting solutions.

In this category, Cartwright & Butler will be launching its Happy Birthday collection musical tin to add to high quality, premium gifting options. The Silver Crane Company will showcase shelf-ready seasonal food filled gift tins, packed and distributed from the UK (Hall 4.2, stand H25). Churchills Confectionery will be hard to miss too, with its distinctive, creatively embossed pieces of artistic design in tin boxes that contain delicious sweets and biscuits, with the company recently reporting to Confectionery Production at the 2023 iSM Middle East show that there has been a strong level of demand for its premium offerings (Hall 4.2, Stand J11).

The expanded range of UK companies present at this year’s show also includes many long-established confectionery names including Yorkshire’s Simpkins, pioneers of the travel sweet category, that have been in business since 1921 (see Hall 4.2, stand J19).

Sweet biscuits and shortbread are out in strength in the UK group including Walker’s Shortbread whose high-quality products can be found the world over. The Walker’s team will be presenting their newly redesigned tartan packaging. Shortbread House, winners of over 100 Great Taste Awards, are excited to showcase their new products and new flavours at ISM, including both shortbread and cheese sables. Also on the biscuit front, Fox’s Burton’s Companies will also be putting a spotlight on its extensive ranges at the event (Hall 4.2, stand H10).

Exhibiting for the first time, Stoat’s Porridge Bars, the largest independent cereal bar manufacturer in the UK, will be showcasing their snack bars, porridge and plant-based products made with the finest Scottish oats using only compostable or fully recyclable material. (Hall 4.2, stand H16).

Those looking for private label products won’t be disappointed. JLM Global Foods, manufacturers of healthier snacks specialise in popping technology that allows the production of products like rice cakes and popped potato snacks. (Hall 4.2, stand G19).

From its state-of-the-art, purpose-built manufacturing site, Walkers Chocolates offer a wide range of chocolate and confectionery products which include thins, moulded, bars, sugar coated, vegan, assortments and gifting, offering both private label and own label branded options to 52 countries worldwide (Hall 4.2, stand K10) . New to ISM, Aldomak, known for its luxury Fudge, Scottish Tablet & Meringues, has also transformed into a dynamic modern contract food manufacturer with the ability to bake healthy Oat bars, tray bakes (4.2, stand L40).

Sandra Sullivan MBE, Director of the UK’s Food and Drink Exporters’ Association, said: “The importance of ISM for UK companies cannot be underestimated. With inflationary pressures across the global supply chain, the challenges faced by companies are ones which we are all only to aware of. In these challenging times, it is vital that companies look beyond their domestic market to focus on exports as a route to future growth. We are delighted to see such a strong UK presence of such internationally focussed companies at ISM. We know that the innovation and quality shown across the UK group will attract strong international interest and look forward to supporting the companies in the group. Pop by and say hello Hall 4.2, K41”.

Sandra Sullivan of PS8, at last year’s ISM. Pic: Neill Barston


Karen Beston, Head of Exhibitions & Events at UK Group organisers PS8 added: “This is just a snapshot of the strength and depth of the group at ISM; the full list of UK group exhibitors can be viewed via our dedicated ISM UK exhibitor listing downloadable via our QR code. With this being the first time ISM has taken place in its traditional dates since 2020, we know there is much excitement about what the week will bring. We look forward to working with our client companies to create a strong showcase for the UK and connecting with new brands looking to take part in the show in future years.”

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