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ISM relies on hybrid

23 Apr 2021

The impact of the pandemic on sweets and snacks trends and ISM 2022

Interview with Anne Schumacher, Vice President Food and Food Technology at Koelnmesse

Interview with Anne Schumacher, Vice President Food and Food Technology at Koelnmesse

1. What are the top 3 trends that can be identified when looking at what's new at ISM 2021?

Sweets and snacks trend 1 and ISM 2022: Healthy snacking and indulgence

Healthy snacking and indulgence: Furthermore, there are factors such as texture, colour and taste. Additional trends are fruity fresh taste sensations made from natural colours and flavors, as well as dried fruits, crunchy snacks or bars that stimulate intestinal function.

Sweets and snacks trend 2 and ISM 2022: Plant-based

Plant-based: Especially in chocolates and chocolate products, there are more and more options without cow's milk. Vegan honey products or protein bars made from 100 percent plant protein are also increasingly popular. In addition, transparency regarding ingredients or product origin are playing an increasingly important role. Thus, in the sweets and snacks industry, the trend toward clean label is becoming increasingly prevalent.

Sweets and snacks trend 3 and ISM 2022: Sustainability

Sustainability: The focus is on sustainably sourced raw materials and sustainable packaging made from less plastic. Sustainability often goes hand in hand with organic, vegan and vegetarian.

2. In your opinion, are the needs of the various target groups being taken into account?

The range of sweets and snacks is very wide not only in Germany but worldwide. Most manufacturers have a certain portfolio or specialized segment that they represent. In recent years, ISM has shown how portfolios are evolving. Ingredients, texture and packaging are adapted to meet the needs of the target groups. Today’s consumers have a wide variety of products at their disposal, so everyone can find what they are looking for.

3. Has Corona changed consumer behavior?

In parts, yes. This is particularly visible in the organic segment. The segment has received a further boost from the Corona pandemic. Enormous growth has been seen in the organic snacks segment in particular, as consumers try to balance their busy lives with staying healthy. Snacks play a crucial role, as snacks can provide useful nutrients when there is no time for a substantial meal.

Video clip Anne Schumacher

4. What innovations can we expect at ISM in 2022?

First of all, we currently assume that we will certainly not take off again at the same level as this was the case in 2020 or the years before. One of the innovations in 2022 will be that we are planning a hybrid format for ISM as well as ProSweets Cologne, that takes place at the same time. In addition to the physical product show, there will be a digital platform that offers our exhibitors additional reach besides the actual trade show. The platform is "state of the art" and offers exhibitors options such as presenting their products in a digital exhibitor showroom. Moreover, content about products and companies can be presented to interested participants in digital panels or conferences and, of course, can be deepened via special networking functions in chats or digital meetings. In addition to a variety of other tools, the platform thus also supports addressing new visitor target groups and will also be relevant for future editions of ISM.

5. How much will ISM also change in the long term due to the pandemic?

For us, it’s clear that the needs of our customers will now change even faster due to the pandemic. This means that trade fairs will also have to change as platforms for the respective industry. That's why it's so important for us to rethink trade shows together with our conceptual sponsors, partners and customers, because that's the only way we can create solutions that fit the needs of our target groups, exhibitors and visitors alike. Digitization plays a very central role in this. That's why we started digitizing processes early on, even before Corona, from the registration process for exhibitors or ticket purchasing for visitors, to digital platforms that strongly complement a physical trade show and increase the reach for everyone.

We have also used the pandemic period to develop solutions for hybridizing future trade shows and for new digital business models. The challenge will be to optimally combine the digital solutions with the strengths of the physical trade show to create the best possible benefits for the various customer groups. For the future, we therefore firmly believe that hybrid events will prevail. That is why we are also planning ISM and ProSweets Cologne 2022 in this format. Personal contact, emotions and the event experience as such cannot be replaced by virtual formats alone, all the more so when it comes to product sampling, smelling and tasting as in the sweets and snack industry.