There is hardly a better measure of the vitality and alertness of grain-based foods than the level of participation in this week’s Purchasing Seminar sponsored by this magazine and its cohorts in serving the American food industry. The numbers alone are telling. Registration this year once again approaches a record-breaking 600. Nearly every major food company as well as a range of intermediate size companies along with all the important ingredient suppliers are on hand. They come to hear and to participate in 20 presentations by experts who speak forthrightly about ingredient prospects.

Of equal weight with the presentations and lively discussions are the many opportunities for firsthand exchanges between peers in purchasing as well as with suppliers. Reflecting more than three decades of seminar experience, an essential part of planning is scheduling events so as to allow for conversation with old friends as well as new acquaintances.

Especially striking in 2009 participation is the way the numbers are matching the year-ago record. This is so even though the past 12 months witnessed economic distress that has been severe enough to force cancellation of many conventions and meetings across most of the industry. That this has not occurred in grain-based foods, indeed that just the opposite is the case this year, is evidence of the industry’s understanding that ingredient markets are hugely important to future well-being.

This article can also be found in the digital edition of Milling and Baking News, June 2, 2009, starting on Page 4. Click

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