Sweets and snacks remain popular - indeed across all sales channels - that is the outcome of the 48th ISM that came to a close on Wednesday after four exhibition days. The exhibitors unanimously reported about highly-interested and very motivated buyers and experts from a wide range of national and international sales channels. "The trade fair underlined once again, which outstanding significance ISM has as a business and networking platform," is how Katharina C. Hamma, Chief Operating Officer of Koelnmesse GmbH summed up the trade fair. "The breadth of the offer is incomparable. This is acknowledged by the visitors from all sales channels." Bastian Fassin, Chairman of the International Sweets and Biscuits Fair Task Force (AISM) shared this assessment: "The fact that all of the important distributors from home and abroad were present, demonstrates the huge appeal of the trade fair, but also that of the extremely innovative industry. International trade relations are indispensable for most of the companies." The global leading role of ISM was not least confirmed by the presence of the TOP 20 food distributors worldwide, who were represented in Cologne by strong teams of buyers.

Overall the trade fair recorded around 37,500 trade visitors from 144 countries. 1,656 exhibitors from 73 countries participated. For them, the quality of the trade visitors was of decisive significance in their summaries of the trade fair. Not only buyers from the largest trading companies were on-site. Also, the online trade and the specialised trade that is important for many exhibitors came to Cologne.

The registration data of ISM showed that leading trading and sales companies had travelled to Cologne. These include for instance Aeon, Ahold, Aldi, Amazon, arko, Auchan, Carrefour, Coop, Costco, Delhaize, Edeka, Globus, Hussel, Jumbo, Karstadt, Kaufhof, Kroger, Leclerc, Lekkerland, Lidl, Marks & Spencer, Metro, Mercadona, Netto, Rewe, Rossmann, Sainsbury, Spar, Target, Tesco and Walmart. Furthermore, buyers from numerous specialised online platforms were also among the visitors of ISM. Important importers, international wholesalers and suppliers of gift and decorative items also travelled to Cologne to attend the trade fair.

The overall impression of the trade fair was dominated by crowded stands and intensive discussions. Furthermore, innovations provided momentum. These included among others products with protein, vegetable and fruit bars or sugar-reduced alternatives. Beyond this, the suppliers of chocolate products, confectionery Page and biscuits convinced with new products. The trend towards conscious enjoyment 2/4 was frequently reflected.

The segment "New Snacks", which encompasses fruit and vegetable bars, savoury snacks, to-go offers and breakfast snacks, has taken off at the fair. In addition to the traditional product groups, New Snacks were introduced in 2015. The "New Snacks Area" in Hall 5.2 attracted great interest among the visitors. But also other suppliers, who presented savoury items, nuts and snacks reported that they had held very good discussions.

In addition to "New Snacks" the start-ups, who were presented for the first time at ISM, also attracted plenty of attention. 14 companies that have not existed for longer than five years exhibited under a joint roof and convinced with the diversity of their offers. The same applies to the "Newcomer Area", which with the participation of twelve companies was sold-out. They had numerous innovative ideas in store for the very interested visitors here.

Coffee and tea, also new product groups at ISM made their own appearance, supported by the Coffee Cologne Forum and the "Coffee Street". The practice-oriented supporting programme was also above all very interesting for coffee bar operators, bakeries, confectionery and cake shops.

The lectures on the "Expert Stage and the "Sweets Trends" special event were once again very well-attended.

The ISM Award was conferred for the fifth time. The award winner was the entrepreneur Dylan Lauren with her shop concept Dylan's Candy Bar from the USA. The international prize pays tribute to exceptional services to the sweets and snacks industry. The award winners of the past years were Herman Goelitz Rowland Sr. (Jelly Belly Candy Company, USA), Felix Richterich (Ricola AG, Switzerland),
James N. Walker, (Walkers Shortbread, Great Britain) and Gota Morinaga (Japan).

The top three innovations of the "New Product Showcase" were distinguished again. The visitors voted for Fruit Balls by HPW AG in first place, Brasiliero by GOT7 Nutrition GmbH & Co. KG in second place and Little Love by Lovechock in third place.

Furthermore, the ISM Packaging Award powered by ProSweets Cologne was also conferred for the second time. The award winner is the 100 percent biodegradable organic bag by myChipsBox.

With an attendance of over 20,000 trade visitors and thus a further increase in the number of visitors, ProSweets Cologne - the international supplier fair for the sweets and snacks industry - which is held parallel to ISM, once again confirmed its significance as an important information, order and networking platform for the entire industry.

Together with ProSweets Cologne, ISM covers the entire value chain of sweets production and sales at the same time and place – a worldwide unique constellation. ISM organisers are Koelnmesse and its industry sponsor, the International Sweets and Biscuits Fair (AISM) Task Force.