Amid tight COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s event has nonetheless attracted over 1,300 exhibitors and visitor numbers are also encouraging to one of the world’s leading trade fairs for the sweet and snacks sector.
Neil Kelsall director of Chocolat Madagascar, and one of the exhibitors, told ConfectioneryNews: "The footfall is understandably much lower due to the covid situation in Germany, the ISM Koelnmesse is very well managed and safe for all.
"However the visitor quality is very high, serious buyers from USA, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, UK , Russia and middle East. Great networking opportunities within the fine chocolate industry with the Club de Confiserien, sharing common goals of promoting high quality fine flavour cacao and chocolate to the uneducated consumer.
"Our stand is in hall 5.2 and I understand has the highest footfall in all the halls, seems that the fine chocolate market growth is on trend, where consumers are requiring chocolate that has great flavours, minimal ingredients , no chemical processing, traceable and sustainable, vegan, a great experience at home while the pandemic passes and we get back to normal this year."
This year’s ISM section is focussing on plant-based and immune-boosting and full of energy products, with innovations once again playing a central role with approximately 160 entries in the category.
Brett Beach, director of premium and ethical chocolate brand Made in Africa (MIA) told ConfectioneryNews:
“MIA normally exhibits at ISM but this year we decided to cancel our stand due to uncertainty about travel restrictions.
"In walking the floor of ISM today, it’s clear that the chocolate confectionery industry is ready for business again despite exhibitor participation and footfall being lighter than normal. 2022 is proving that the show can go on despite the challenges. If governments can provide more long-term assurance going forward, 2023 should be a breakout year for brands and buyers who are both equally eager to meet, in person, to do business face to face. I know I’m not alone in saying this will be a welcome change.”
The trend towards products with additional health benefits is also getting a real boost this year in Cologne, where highlights include the switch to naturalness and health as a result of long lockdowns and social distancing measures.
A spokesperson for Koelnmesse said: “More and more consumers prefer healthy, plant-based foods that taste authentic and have a minimalist list of ingredients. Whoever reaches for chocolate, sweets or fruit gums today expects more than ‘just’ indulgence. Sweets and snacks should no longer surprise with exotic flavour combinations and fruity aromas alone, but support an active and conscious lifestyle as sugar-reduced or purely plant-based variants.”
ISM partner Innova Market Insights, which records a growing number of new product launches with health benefits in its databases said awareness of the antioxidant content and potential immune health benefits of snacks containing dark chocolate and ‘superfruits’ such as pomegranate or goji berries will increase. “At ISM 2022, for example, product innovations such as probiotic biscuits that promote digestion and immune-boosting crisps made from pulses and acerola will make their debut,” it said.
In parallel to the latest findings, the popularity of plant-based products and ingredients is driving innovation among confectionery and snack manufacturers with a creative scope for new ways of enriching with dietary fibre.
In the purely plant-based segment, sports bars, energy bars and cereal bars are in vogue. In sugar and chocolate products, too, more new vegan and vegetarian alternatives will be presented at ISM, organisers confirmed.
ISM will also focus heavily in the area of clean labelling as consumers want to know where the products come from, how they are made and what ingredients are used and products labelled as additive-free, organic, natural/natural or GMO-free will therefore increase significantly at the trade fair.
- ProSweets/ISM runs at the Koelnmesse exhibition runs until 2 February 2022.