ISM Middle East, the international trade fair for sweets and snacks in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, concluded another edition at the Dubai World Trade Centre from November 7–9. With a turnout of more than 12,800 visitors, 352 exhibitors hailing from 45 countries, 28 national pavilions, and a three-day showcase, ISM Middle East 2023 reaffirmed its significance in the MENA region. As the region's leading platform for sweets and snacks, ISM Middle East 2023 had a impact, and set new goals for its future editions: "Bigger, Better, Bolder."


New conference format launched

This year's event also celebrated the inaugural ISM Middle East Conference, offering insights and knowledge to industry professionals and making it a comprehensive experience for attendees. The event included the premiere of the new ISM Middle East Knowledge Hub that addressed current trend topics, innovation and business with speakers from G.A.A.S.T, German Sweets, IFF, Jannis, Mirzam, and Perfetti van Melle. Another part of the ISM Middle East Conference was a high-profile panel and presentations from official Knowledge Partners Innova Market and Euromonitor.


New trade fair date announced for 2024

This year, ISM Middle East expanded its exhibition space due to the increasing demand from exhibitors. The record result of 2016 with 5,197 square meters of space was exceeded. Additionally, ISM Middle East will be making a major shift in its schedule starting from 2024. The event will move from its traditional November date to September, allowing for better alignment with religious celebrations as well as the order timings of the industry. The new dates for the ISM Middle East 2024 edition are set from September 24–26, 2024, at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). This move aims to meet the ever-increasing demand in the region and further expand the exhibitor base.

"Under the ISM family banner, ISM Middle East seamlessly aligns with the global reputation of the world's leading trade fair in Cologne and has once again reaffirmed its position as the foremost business platform in the Middle East and North Africa region," stated Oliver Frese, chief operating officer at Koelnmesse GmbH, setting the stage for an even more thrilling edition in 2024.


Trade fair participants highly satisfied

This year's ISM Middle East showcased a diverse range of products, including chocolate, confectionery, desserts, snack foods, ice cream, fine bakery, and date products, reflecting the dynamic and ever-evolving sweets and snacks industry. The participants at the trade fair reaped significant benefits by establishing direct connections with a multitude of pertinent buyers and key figures hailing from the realms of retail, trade, and hospitality. They also engaged with distributors spanning the entire region. The caliber of the trade fair attendees garnered special recognition. Moreover, the volume of visitors surpassed the expectations of most of the trade fair participants.

“Most noticeable this year was the large increase in international buyer visits, Africa and especially Saudi Arabia, where demand for high quality, high value confections drove a 41% increase in visitors,” commented Bastian Mingers, vice president of trade fair management at Koelnmesse GmbH.

"ISM Middle East serves as the premier sweets and snacks trade fair tailored for the MENA region. Our collaboration with Koelnmesse harmoniously aligns with our aspiration to orchestrate a globally esteemed event that not only meets but also surpasses the anticipations of our target audiences," remarked Mark Napier, vice president exhibitions at Dubai World Trade Centre.

The winners of the 9th ISM Middle East New Product Showcase Award

ISM Middle East 2023 celebrated again innovation and excellence with the ISM Middle East New Product Showcase Awards. This prestigious recognition showcased the most innovative and newly launched sweets and snacks products, marking the ninth edition of this highly anticipated event.

An impartial and specialized panel of judges meticulously evaluated the numerous submissions and handpicked the victors across four distinct categories. The winners were celebrated at the trade fair, with all awarded products prominently displayed in the Trend Court during the event. The 2023 winners include:


Category: Best Chocolate Product

Exhibitor: Gia Siming (Zhuhai) Food Technology Co., Ltd. (China)

Product: Lyophilized chocolate


Category: Best Hard & Soft Candy Product

Exhibitor: Magical Flavors for Food Industry (Egypt)

Product: Marshzone Marshmallow Fries


Category: Best Bakery Product

Exhibitor: Me Gusto Sp. z.o.o. (Poland)

Product: Organic wafer with peanut butter and salt, without added sugar


Category: Best Snack Product

Exhibitor: Matis Bros SA (Greece)

Product: Full Energy Tahini Spread with Rice Crispies 


The next events include:

  • ISM - The world's largest trade fair for sweets and snacks, Cologne, January 28-31, 2024
  • THAIFEX – HOREC Asia - Elevating the hospitality industry to new heights, Bangkok, March 6–8, 2024
  • Anuga Select Brazil - International Trade Show Exclusively for the Food and Beverage Sector, São Paulo, April 9–11, 2024
  • ISM Japan - The Heart of Sweets and Snacks in East Asia, Tokyo, April 10–12, 2024