Among the many ways to gauge the vitality of grain-based foods, the willingness of its companies to invest capital to modernize or expand their operations stands as particularly telling. Staying put in a business is one thing, but devoting new resources to projects requiring an adequate return on investment is another matter.

With that as a backdrop, the current issue of this publication merits careful notice. While it should be admitted that a comparison with each and every one of the 4,820 preceding issues published since 1922 was not conducted, it is believed that a new high-water mark for the number of significant capital projects announced has been set by this single week. Beginning with ADM, Bartlett and ConAgra and encompassing grain elevators, flour mills, mix plants and bakeries, project after project is described in different stages of progress, in the pages that follow. Most are accompanied by optimistic words from executives about prospects for the projects and the companies that are involved. These announcements are in addition to others related to acquisitions, new product initiatives and various moves aimed at achieving growth.

While these capital initiatives range from a modest updating to major construction projects, the grouping as a whole may only be interpreted as a sign of great confidence in the future of grain-based foods and a recognition of the importance of keeping apace with the rapid change under way in the industry.