CHICAGO — The American Society of Baking has announced plans to move BakingTech 2021 to a completely virtual event. Originally scheduled to take place Feb. 14-16, 2021, at the Hilton Chicago as an in-person technical conference and marketplace exposition featuring digital components for virtual attendees, the event will now be held completely virtual on Feb. 16-18.

“Gatherings exceeding 50 people are prohibited in the state of Illinois, and under their five-phase reopening plan large meetings/conventions may only resume once there is a vaccine or an effective treatment for COVID-19, which has contributed to our decision to move BakingTech 2021 completely virtual, from Feb. 16–18,” the ASB said. “This has been a difficult decision but necessary due to the uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The ASB said the virtual conference will comprise the association’s regular offerings and opportunities for engagement, including sessions, keynotes and space to interact with sponsors, exhibitors and baking professionals from across the globe.

Scheduled keynote presenters include Ross Shafer, Emmy award winning comedian and writer; Alan Beaulieu, economist; and Javier Gonzalez, executive vice president of Grupo Bimbo.

“As one of the commercial baking industry’s premier annual events, ASB looks forward to once again delivering ‘The Best Week in Baking’ featuring an outstanding program for baking professionals that will continue to be the valuable and stimulating event that attendees have come to know,” the ASB said.

The ASB said it plans to return to Chicago for BakingTech 2022.

BakingTech is attended by more than 1,000 baking professionals annually. The BakingTech 2020 conference, held March 1-3, was one of the last industry events held before widespread social distancing plans were put into place.