Exhibition space for ISM 2021 is 76 percent booked, which shows optimism for next year’s fair, according to show organizer Koelnmesse.

Though the total of participating companies (501) is down from the 566 Koelnmesse recorded this time last year, organizers feel the trade fair, set for Jan. 31-Feb. 3, is on a good course in light of the global coronavirus pandemic.

"In the course of our dialogues with the exhibitors we are not only sensing the many insecurities, but also a spirit of optimism,” said ISM Director Sabine Schommer. “This allows us to look ahead to ISM 2021 with confidence. For us it is important that we offer together with, but above all for our customers, a marketplace which supports the industry in boosting both the national and international business. The personal encounters and the professional exchange, which nothing can replace, are also key aspects. These will no doubt take place under extraordinary framework conditions this year, because the safety and health of our exhibitors and visitors are of central importance.”

With 120 applications (previous year 130) and 9.149 sq. meters of booked space (previous year 9,187 sp. meters), both the number of applications from Germany and the area booked are practically unaltered. Overall, companies from 55 countries (previous year 60) have registered for ISM 2021 to date. 

In addition to Germany, Italy, Belgium, Spain, Great Britain, Poland, France, the Netherlands, Turkey, the People's Republic of China and Greece are among the Top 10 countries represented the most strongly at ISM in terms of area booked. Also in the case of the pavilions, alongside numerous European countries, a host of non-European countries such as Brazil, Hong Kong and Taiwan are represented. Newcomers here include Latvia, Portugal and Thailand. 

There have been reductions in the area booked particularly for the pavilions that are more strongly affected by COVID-19. However, these countries do have the option to expand the space at a later date. France and Turkey, on the other hand, are recording an increase in the area booked of 3.3 percent and 14 percent, respectively. 

Numerous market leaders have already registered for ISM 2021. These include: Baronie (Belgium), Canel’s (Mexico), Chocolates Valor (Spain), Cloetta (the Netherlands), Colombina (Colombia), Fini Golosinas (Spain), ICAM (Italy), ION Cocoa and Chocolate Manufacturers (Greece), Kambly (Switzerland), Katjes (Germany), Kras Food Industry (Croatia), Krüger (Germany), Lambertz (Germany), Loacker (Italy), Millano (Poland), Natra Midco (Spain), Nestlé Italiana (Italy), Ragolds (Germany), Riclan (Brazil), Ricola (Switzerland), Riegelein (Germany), Ritter (Germany), Roshen (Ukraine), Rübezahl (Germany), Sölen Cikolata (Turkey), Toms Confectionery (Denmark), Trolli (Germany), Vidal Golosinas (Spain), Wawel (Poland) and WAWI-Euro (Germany). 

ISM noted 23 newcomers from 18 countries have already registered, which is giving the trade fair organizer cause for particular optimism. Eurobrands Lebensmittel, Famobra, Goldbek Sweets and Husar Mandelmanufaktur from Germany have confirmed their participation. 

As a conceptual innovation, there will be a specialized trade section focusing on small volume business with sweets and snacks for the first time, which is titled "Finest Creations - hand-crafted.” This exhibition section unites craft establishments, whose visitor target group comprises confectioners, cake shops and specialized sweet shops. Microbusinesses predominantly from Germany are initially invited to participate. This section will be located in Hall 3.1. 

In order to support the exhibitors in presenting their existing and new products, ISM is offering additional digital offers, which support the communication with visitors. These include the digital New Products Database or the online press box, which help the exhibitors to present their latest products to visitors and the media. 

As a means of networking with potential business partners, ISM also offers the online industry tool, Matchmaking365, which enables the exhibitors to contact business partners year-round place business enquiries. The tool also enables concrete meetings to be arranged at the trade fair and helps present products.

Further digital services are planned at ISM 2021. These will allow visitors and exhibitors to establish contacts and exchange  information online. Further information can be communicated through ISM’s social media channels.

ProSweets Cologne, which is staged parallel to ISM, is also seeing positive registration. More than 100 exhibitors from the regularly represented countries of Germany, France, the Netherlands, Austria and Italy, but also from Hong Kong, the U.S. and Ghana, have registered in spite of the difficult times brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. The trade fair has also received applications from new exhibitors from Germany, France and Turkey.