From an exhibition for sweets and snacks to the place-to-be in Cologne
From 2 to 5 February 2020, ISM Cologne, the leading global trade fair for sweets and snacks, was staged for the 50th time in Cologne. A lot has happened during this half a century – in the world and of course at the trade fair. In 1971, the year in which ISM opened its doors for the first time, the microprocessor was invented and the US American, Ray Tomlinson, sent the first e-mail. In 1973, the mobile phone – weighing 800 grammes and 33 cm in length – saw the light of day, followed by the personal computer in 1976. The CD (1981) and DVD (1995) are quite a bit younger. How much some of these innovations have changed all of our lives!
And ISM Cologne? It began as a trade fair with 351 companies, which the exhibitors presented their new products at. 50 years ago, 5,800 trade visitors travelled to Cologne. Today, more than 1,650 exhibitors from all over the globe cover exhibition space spanning 120,000 m² and over 38,000 visitors attend the trade fair regularly to inform themselves about the world of sweets and snacks.
ISM Cologne: Development of the platform back then and today
ISM Cologne asked those exhibitors, who have been on board from the very beginning, what the difference is between the first trade fair in 1971 and ISM Cologne today and what distinguishes the platform for sweets and snacks in their opinion.
Frederic Drüing, Brand Manager Ahoj-Brause:
„On the one hand, ISM has successively grown over the years in terms of the size and diversity of the exhibitors. This has led to the reorganisation and creation of many new theme areas, which in turn has ensured that the trade fair is always on the pulse of time. On the other hand, the spirit of the trade fair, which focuses on the trends and current market themes, is significantly driven forward by the Newcomer and Start-Up Area, by the Trend Court and by the New Product Showcase."
A classic in the history of confectionery - the Ahoy Brause.
Manuel Sentker, Corporate Communications, Coppenrath Feingebäck:
„ISM has been an obligatory date in our diary for 50 years. The entire sweets industry meets up here. We use the platform to present new products, establish new and groom existing contacts. A special atmosphere prevails across the fair grounds – once a year Cologne becomes the sweets paradise for several days."
Hüseyin Alkan, Executive Director, Frankonia Schokoladenwerke:
„In principle, all of the changes within the society and in the consumer needs and market demands have been reflected over the many years."
Inge-Maren Risop, Marketing Director, Hanseatisches Chocoladen Kontor:
„In the past, specialised dealers tended to visit ISM and preliminary orders were also placed. Today, the trade fair is used more for holding dialogues with customers, who in the meantime operate on both a national and international basis."
Claus Cersovsky, Managing Partner, Rübezahl and Rübezahl-Riegelein Group:
„In spite of its modern image, ISM has a touch of nostalgia, when one has been on board for so long. It is the industry event of the sweets sector with everything that belongs to it."
On board right from the start - Hans Riegelein & Son.
Bas Frequin, Managing Director, Steenland Chocolate:
„For me personally it is the 24th ISM and I hope to remain part of this family for the next ten years at least. For us as a Dutch manufacturer of chocolate coins and exporter to over 55 countries, ISM is the most important trade fair, where we meet up with almost all of our customers."
Steenland Chocolate has honoured the ISM for 50 years. In 2010 the exhibitor presents itself with modern stand design.
Fred Windel, CEO, Windel Group:
„Participating at ISM is an indispensable part of our sales activities and especially ensures the continuity and further development of our export business. It is the leading trade fair for the global sweets industry and the largest communication platform for contacts between the industry, trade and associations and reflects the trends the most accurately."
In 1971 the Windel Group presented itself in a clear and structured way - just as it was "in" at that time.
Dr. Karel Koster, Executive Director, Stereo Holland Gebaeck:
„ISM is an important point of exchange for us for contacting our customers. In spite of the new communication media such as the Internet, etc. the trade fair still has a special relevance for us until this very day. At the same time, in our capacity as an import and distribution company, we also use ISM to maintain the contact to our foreign suppliers and manufacturers."
Variety is already evident in the early years of Holland Gebäck at the ISM. The large number of visitors to the stand shows the popularity of this product.
Dr. Markus Schinle, owner and great-grandson of the founder, Chr. Storz GmbH & Co. KG:
Focus on newly launched sweets and snacks
„Storz has been an exhibitor from the start, because we welcomed and supported the concept of a central, worldwide oriented trade fair. ISM always was and still is a highlight of the business year for us, a central platform for the presentation of new products and an important communication interface with our national and international customers. During the initial years, the trade fair was dominated by numerous specialised trade visitors as well as smaller sweets wholesalers from all German regions. Export also played a role, although it was rather underrepresented at the time. ISM already shed its order fair image to a large extent several decades ago. Today, the focus is on discussions with important central buyers and export customers."
Hans-Joachim Schuhmacher, Director Group Marketing Trolli:
„The key characteristics of ISM are of course its high degree of internationality and recognised establishedness. There is probably not a country in the world that isn't represented in some way or other, both among the exhibitors and the visitors. If one can sell one's brand in so many countries, it is also extremely expedient if one is able to meet up with one's most important worldwide partners and customers. The business was more spontaneous in the past, when orders were actually placed at the trade fair, often sealed by handshake. Today, of course the initial goal tends to be gathering information, the scope of the deal is then negotiated later during subsequent meetings. Secondly, in past years the trade fair was dominated by big manufacturers. Nowadays, more and more start-ups, some of who are new to the industry, exhibit at ISM."