KANSAS CITY — Reflecting the worsening of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and prospects for restrictions on travel and business/social gatherings extending ever deeper into the year, the 2020 Sosland Publishing Co. Purchasing Seminar has been canceled.

The event, attended annually by about 800 purchasing executives and suppliers, was scheduled for May 31-June 2 at the Sheraton at Crown Center in Kansas City. The Sheraton hotel has announced it is closing its doors and furloughing its staff until further notice.

“For more than 40 years, grain-based foods executives have relied on the purchasing seminar to gather vital market information and insights to help them develop ingredient purchasing plans for the months that follow,” said Josh Sosland, president of Sosland Publishing Co. and editor of Milling & Baking News. “In many cases, the seminar is the forum where large ingredient transactions are completed between buyers and sellers. Suppliers count on the seminar as a prime opportunity to meet face to face with their best customers. While the need to cancel was not a surprise given the worsening pandemic and the mounting need for social distancing, the decision was still deeply disappointing to all of us at Sosland Publishing.”

Mr. Sosland said the company was exploring a range of alternatives to the May 31-June 2 seminar in Kansas City. He said a fall event was under consideration if speakers were available and if hotel space could be secured. Any such plans also would be dependent on whether the COVID-19 pandemic was sufficiently contained to allow the resumption of normal business activities and travel.

Registration fees for the 2020 seminar will be refunded. Similarly, the Sheraton or Westin Crown Center hotels will refund room deposits for the event.

The cancellation is the latest announced for major annual events of the grain-based foods and food processing industries.

The 2021 Purchasing Seminar will be held at the Sheraton June 6-8.

Questions about the Purchasing Seminar may be directed to Christina Sullivan at csullivan@sosland.com.