ISM and ProSweets return to Cologne

ISM and ProSweets return to Cologne

ISM in Cologne, Germany is going to be the hotspot for innovations and trends in the sweets and snacks industry. Held from 28 to 31 January 2024 with over 1,400 exhibitors from 74 countries, the trade fair offers an extensive overview of current developments.

ISM 2024 is presenting a multifaceted trade show that highlights new products and trends. There is growing demand for healthy food options and sustainable ingredients, natural ingredients and upcycling raw materials.

Manufacturers are presenting innovative products like mushroom fruit gums that are extra fruity thanks to peach, passionfruit and rhubarb juice and unusual exotic combinations like colourful sweet potato popcorn made from yellow and purple sweet potatoes from Taiwan. Unexpected taste experiences include crisps containing real beef jerky.

Plant-based products and ingredients are still booming. Jelly babies that are totally plant-based, rich in fibre and contain less than 2g sugar offer more conscious enjoyment. The market for vegan food has been showing considerable growth for years, which is due to a growing awareness for the environment, health and animal protection among the consumers.


In the chocolate section, companies are relying more and more on attributes like fair trade, low sugar, vegan and unusual flavours. These aspects are particularly gaining significance among younger consumers. New products like chickpea waffles or chocolate quinoa waffles in dark chocolate with freeze-dried pieces of cherry reflect this development. Cocoa fruit nibbles with a filling made out of an extract of recycled fruit pulp from the cocoa fruit are sustainable developments here.

The top 3 innovations of ISM 2024, as voted by expert industry judges, were revealed on Sunday 29th January: 

1. Planet A Foods GmbH with its more sustainable cocoa alternative ‘ChoViva’ from Germany 

2. Gudrun Commercial NV with ‘UPPA Cacaofruit Bites’ from Belgium 

3. PEZ International GmbH with ‘PEZ MyHead’ from Austria 

Planet A Foods GmbH from Germany came first with a novel chocolate experience made without cocoa, which relies on a climate-friendly concept. Although ChoViva was originally offered as an independent chocolate bar brand, the company’s current and future focus lies on placing ChoViva in different products on the market as a so-called ingredient brand. The taste is comparable with conventional chocolate, but it has a much better CO2 footprint. ChoViva was voted the most innovative, new product at ISM 2024.
Second place went to UPPA Cacaofruit Bites by Gudrun Commercial NV from Belgium, which stood out because of their excellent quality and the fruit pulp used. ‘Upcycled’ Cacaofruit Bites, where the fruit pulp is recycled, ensure around a 30% saving in the material used compared to previously. This sustainable approach is part of an industry trend that involves companies developing environmentally-friendly products to offer farmers additional sources of income.
PEZ myHead from Austria claimed third place this year and the product particularly asserted itself from a marketing point of view because of its unique design. PEZ International GmbH is relying on the power of children’s memories – with the dispensers for small, sour sherbet sweets well-known from the 1950s. Additional buying incentive is stimulated by creating Pez dispensers with 3D printed heads that resemble real people.


ProSweets Cologne, the only supplier fair exclusively for the sweets and snacks industry, also returns to Germany from 28.-31.01.2024, co-located with the sweets trade fair, ISM.

With about 250 exhibitors from 30 countries, ProSweets Cologne is an essential event for international suppliers and decision-makers in the snacks and sweets industry. Connecting the two trade shows in “Sweet Week” not only promises the latest industry innovations, but also a specialised programme and new interactive event formats. A joint lecture programme between ISM and ProSweets Cologne and the trade fair-connecting Guided Tours are also available.

Many highlights await the visitors, such as the Expert Stage the fair shares with ISM: The programme on the Expert Stage on the Central Boulevard encompasses exciting trend lectures and many industry-specific focuses. Industry experts will give insights into current research results, while an interactive event programme in the exhibition sections “Packaging & Packaging Materials” and “Raw Materials & Ingredients” promotes a new, more intensive event experience involving the use of the senses feeling, smelling and tasting.

Whether edible packaging made of algae, mushroom foams or biodegradable capsules for powder and liquids, there is a variety of bio-circular packaging available for the sweets industry, which they can use to proactively promote the transformation towards a circular economy.

Think a refreshing lemonade made of weeds, beverages and teas made from unused coffee cherries or hyperlocally produced low-fat snacks – the industry is currently undergoing a global change in the direction of snacks that ensure a positive ecological conscience.

Ingredients Special Show

Snack innovations from all over the globe will be presented and tasted on the “InGREENients” special zone. Here, a particular emphasis lies on the sustainability aspect through the use of unusual ingredients.

Sustainable Packaging Special Show

The special area for Sustainable Packaging Solutions is supported by the Sustainable Packaging Institute (SPI), demonstrating how packaging can be designed more sustainably and will focus on biogenic raw materials, process technology and process design, functional materials, smart packaging, preservation and packaging, as well as bioeconomy and sustainability.

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