ISM draws major global audience across key confectionery industry event in Cologne

The overall international visitor turnout for ISM Cologne in its traditional early year hit 30,000 attendees from over 140 countries, flocking to see a host of international product innovations across five major halls for the 2024 event, writes Neill Barston.

Confectionery Production was on hand to explore some of the most eye-catching chocolate, candies and snacks that saw a host of intriguing products hit shelves, from the Pez MyHead avatars creating a personalised sweet, through to caviar flavoured crisps, and a raft of seasonal treats from around the world for good measure. (See our exclusive video from ProSweets and ISM 2024 here).

According to the organising team, a total of 1,427 exhibitors took part in the event, which began last Sunday and ended yesterday (Wednesday)  alongside over 250 ProSweets equipment, systems and ingredients companies in a return to its full four-day format, backed by its ISM awards, education and learning sessions offering insights into latest industry developments.

Euromonitor and Innova Market Insights were on hand to offer their views on the hottest market insights, including the ongoing desire from consumers for health-and wellness related product ranges, the delivery of sustainable ingredients, in addition to cost-conscious options and indulgent premium confectionery offerings around the world.

As ever, inventive flavours, and novel product concepts were, according to the research groups, high on the agenda of many shoppers, who have been forced to tighten their purse strings in many instances, amid the ongoing cost of living crisis.

In the wake of this year’s show, which was widely considered a genuine success, dates for the next ISM show have also just been released and will be scheduled to take place from Sunday, 2 February-Wednesday, 5 February.

“ISM is not only a business platform, but also a central meeting point for product innovations, a specialised programme and interesting discussions. It not only promotes the cooperation between different players, together with the industry it also enables new, pioneering paths to be trodden. For us the positive response of all the participants confirms that the customary January date is the optimal point in time for the sweets and snacks industry,” Gerald Böse, President and Chief Executive Officer of Koelnmesse, emphasised.

“Current challenges such as the price increases for raw materials and energy as well as sustainability and climate protection issues are approached holistically at ISM. Here, it becomes evident that the trade fair makes a significant contribution to the exchange and to the development of solutions,” Bastian Fassin, Chairman of the International Sweets and Biscuits Fair Task Force (AISM), added. The AISM is the partner and industry sponsor of ISM.

With a high share of over 70 percent, there was an ongoing strong presence of international trade visitors. The most strongly represented countries from Europe were Belgium, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Ukraine. Beyond Europe, particular growth was recorded from the People’s Republic of China, Israel, Japan, Canada and the USA.

The exhibiting companies praised above all the high quality of the trade audience. The trade sector was represented by the following companies, among others Auchan, Ahold Delhaize, Coop, Edeka, Globus, ITM (Intermarché), Magnit, Mercadona, Metro, Migros Switzerland, Sainsbury’s, and SPAR International from Europe. From outside Europe, among others representatives of the following international top 100 food chains took part: Aeon Co, Costco Wholesale Corporation, CVS Health, E-Mart,, Kroger, Loblaw Companies Limited, Sino-Pacific, Walgreens and Walmart.

Together with the new GISMO Square on the Central Boulevard, Lab5 by ISM in Hall 5.2, formed a central place for innovation, networking and entertainment. The main aim was to create new formats especially for young professionals and creators. This alignment was also reflected by the introduction of the new Get-together Series that was held on the Sunday and Tuesday of ISM in Lab5 by ISM and which proved particularly popular among the target group of young professionals. Here, the participants were given the opportunity to get together in a relaxed atmosphere, engage in an exchange and discover new perspectives and ideas together.

Speaking to Confectionery Production, show director Sabine Schommer said: “This year’s ISM in Cologne was a great opportunity for the international confectionery and snack industry to showcase itself. With 1,427 companies from 74 countries – 12 percent more exhibitors than last year – presenting the latest trends and new products, the event was a resounding success. With over 30,000 trade visitors – a 20 percent increase from 2023 – traveling from more than 140 countries to Cologne to participate in this unique event.

“The exhibiting companies praised the high quality of the trade visitors in particular. Thanks to an extended event program, exhibitors and visitors were able to experience the full diversity of the industry and benefit from additional networking opportunities. ISM and ProSweets Cologne, which took place at the same time, once again utilized their synergies along the entire value chain to create added value for the industry. It was an inspiring event that enriched the participants with new ideas and contacts. We are already looking forward to the next ISM, from 02.02.2024 to 05.02.2025.”



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