ISM Middle East 2023

ISM Middle East sells out in Dubai and announces expansion plans for 2024

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

The Swiss pavilion at last year's ISM Middle East. Pic: Switzerland Global Enterprise
The Swiss pavilion at last year's ISM Middle East. Pic: Switzerland Global Enterprise

Related tags ISM Middle East Confectionery Chocolate

As ISM Middle East prepares to open the MENA region's premier trade fair for confectionery and snacks at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from 7 to 9 November, organisers Koelnmesse has announced it will be moving its usual November date to September from next year and accommodating a step change in scale.

This year’s trade fair will see more than 300 exhibitors from over 42 countries featuring the best chocolate, confectionery, desserts, snack foods, ice cream, and dates & date palm products.

The 2023 edition of ISM Middle East is already sold out, with a long exhibitor waiting list, and is part of DWTC’s food and beverage events co-located with Gulfood Manufacturing, a convening platform for the industry that addresses areas such as optimising operational efficiency, driving responsible sourcing with traceable supply chains, navigating entry barriers in new markets, adopting sustainable practices and generating new funding sources.

Koelnmesse is also the organiser of ISM/ProSweets in Cologne, Germany, and one of the highlights in Dubai will be its New Product Showcase, which will pick up on trends in the snack and confectionery space.

The global confectionery market is projected to each $242.53 billion in 2028, and the UAE currently ranks seventh among the top 10 confectionery markets in terms of per capita expenditure, higher than Saudi Arabia, China and Malaysia, according to TradeArabia News Service.

In addition to the date change, ISM Middle East 2024 will see more exhibition space available, across more halls, to meet increased demand from the global industry, including more trade associations and national pavilions.

Away from the show floor, there will also be a strong content-led conference programme running on the Expert Stage, curated by knowledge partners and based around the latest trending topics. This will mark the culmination of a knowledge transfer process that will become year-round, with insights and articles to be shared on an on-going basis on the forthcoming Knowledge section on ISM’s website.

"At Dubai World Trade Centre, we have always understood the potential for ISM Middle East to grow into the top sweets and snacks show in the region, which has driven our close partnership with Koelnmesse from the outset. We are looking forward to bringing the flexibility of the region’s leading venue, and our experience in delivering content driven conferences and engaging activations across our F&B events, to bear in taking ISM Middle East to the next level in 2024​”, said Mark Napier, Vice President – Portfolio Growth Food & Hospitality, Dubai World Trade Centre.

Demand for the industry

Denis Steker, Vice President International at Koelnmesse GmbH, said: "Based on the impact that the launch of our brand ISM Middle East has had in the region within just two years, we now set the course for further growth with the new dates, to cater for the demand of the industry

"We are proud of our strong partnership with DWTC, which has helped us expand and extend the proven model of ISM Cologne into the Mena region, and to address new content and topics.​" 

German Sweets also welcomed the new date for ISM Middle East: "ISM Middle East is the most important market place for confectionery in the Gulf and Mena region. The growing markets in this region also offer very good prospects for confectionery from Germany in the future. The importance of ISM Middle East is therefore likely to increase even further​," said Karsten Daum, Managing Director German Sweets.

  • ISM Cologne 2024, Europe’s most prominent trade fair for the sweets and snacks industry sector, takes place from 28 to 31 January at Koelnmesse.

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