Upswing of ISM
The impressive figures recorded in the following years underline the dynamic upswing of the trade fair. Since 1971 the number of exhibitors has increased by over 500 percent (from 351 up to around 1,700). The exhibition space expanded by more than 600 percent (from 16,500 m² up to 120,000 m²). And the number of international trade visitors rose by over 500 percent (from 5,800 up to around 38,000).
ISM moved locations several times: At the start it was staged in the Rhineside Halls of the fair grounds, then it moved to the East Halls in 1983 only to relocate back to the Rhineside Halls again in 1990. At the end of the 1990s, the event reached its spatial limits in these halls and moved back to the East Halls in 2005 - a good decision, because shortly afterwards the expansion of the Cologne fair grounds was completed, which would have led to ISM being relocated to other exhibition halls anyway. The 40th ISM was then staged in the East Halls with slightly over 1,500 exhibitors from 66 countries. Foreign exhibitors accounted for 82 percent of the total.
However, the trade fair has not only become bigger and more international, its visual appearance has changed too. The once sober booths were replaced by attractive stand designs, which reflect the diversity, quality and joy in sweet delights as a trademark of the "sweet industry". The audience has also taken on a new appearance: The trade visitors travel to Cologne for ISM from all over the world and turn it into an exciting encounter between cultures and languages. The dress code is however still "business-like" and in line with the position of the top buyers in their respective companies.