ISM 2020 weathers coronavirus scare to make its 50th edition a sweet affair

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags ProSweets

One of the world’s largest sweets and snacks fair sees record number of exhibitors and sets consumer trends for the year, while Brazil increases its presence on international stage.

The 50th edition of ISM Sweets and Snacks trade fair in Cologne, Germany, proved to be an exceptional event, according to the organiser who revealed that approximately 37,000 trade visitors from 148 countries swarmed into the Koelnmesse – despite the threat of the coronavirus and restricted travel arrangements from some regions.

Main areas of interest this years were in vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, plant-based, and fat and sugar-reduction, as well as Fairtrade and natural ingredients and colours.

A spokesperson for Koelnmesse said that, in total, 1,774 exhibitors (up 7.5% in last year) from 76 countries took part in the 50th anniversary edition of one of the largest confectionery shows in the world.

"In its anniversary year, the leading global trade fair for sweets and snacks is once again bringing all of the internationally relevant market participants from the industry and trade together in this magnitude and is thus confirming its function as the most important business hub, export driver and innovation platform for the sweets industry​,” said Gerald Böse, president and chief executive officer of Koelnmesse.

A large share of the European trade visitors came from Belgium, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Italy this year. Outside Europe, Israel and Korea recorded strong growth.

In addition to high-ranking representatives from Germany, top buyers, importers and distributors of sweets from other countries were in Cologne. Among the leading companies, Walmart, Carrefour, Costco, Schwarz Gruppe, Tesco, Aldi, Edeka, Rewe, Amazon and Walgreens were on-site, raising expectations of follow-up business in the coming months.

Organisers said #CONNECT2030 – The Future Summit for Sweets and Snacks - that was staged for the first time by ProSweets and ISM was also well-attended. Topics under discussion and led by industry experts in their given field included practical examples of applications from artificial intelligence, big data and smart technology, which are all becoming part of the confectionery industry.

When it closed its doors, ProSweets Cologne, the international supplier fair for the supplier industry held parallel to ISM, had registered over 18,000 trade visitors from more than 100 countries, with 260 exhibitors from 32 countries.

Bastian Fassin, chairman of the International Sweets & Biscuits Fair Task Force, AISM, and member of the Board of the Federal Association of the German Confectionery Industry (BDSI), added: "ISM is indispensable for the sweets industry. With its numerous innovations, it brings new dynamics into the national and international trading activities of the market leaders and the medium-sized companies year after year and thus sets important impulses for the future for the entire industry​."

The most important returnee or new exhibitors included the Hosta Group from Germany, Arcor from Argentina, Cacau Show from Brazil and Fazer from Finland.

Big in Brazil

Brazilian confectionery once again held a commanding presence at ISM after achieving record sales at Yummex fair in Dubai (ISM’s sister trade fair in the Middle East) at the end of October.

The Brazilian companies arrived upbeat at ISM 2020, with three brands - Divine, Garoto and Jazam - selected for the fair's prestigious New Products Showcase.

Ubiracy Fonseca, ABICAB's president, said exports have increased more than 32% since 2015 and have reached US$ 429.6m from January to October 2019.

Ubiracy Fonseca ABICAB  750
Ubiracy Fonseca, ABICAB president. Pic: ConfectioneryNews

He told ConfectioneryNews that, by attending international trade fairs such as ISM, his organisation can pick up on new consumer trends such as better-for-you, reduced sugar, vegan, dairy free and share them with its members through an international projects department.

He said that, for chocolate, South America remains its biggest market but it has seen a growth in candies in new regions including North America and Canada. 

The group of companies present their rich and varied portfolio at the fair, with new releases of candies, caramels and chocolates, in innovative flavours and formats, inspired by the rich Brazilian diversity and tradition, reinforced by strong investments in recent years. This is the combination that has ensured our exports' exceptional performance​,” Fonseca said.

He said partnerships, like that with Hershey Brazil, also increase exposure of the country’s confectionery industry – and he was also proud the World Cocoa Foundation’s CocoaAction now includes Brazil to deal with sustainability issues in its cocoa-growing regions.

  • The 51st edition of ISM is scheduled to take place in Cologne from 31 January to 3 February 2021.

Related topics Manufacturers Chocolate Candy Hershey

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